Approach of the big banks to COVID-19

External view of office buildings.

Australia's Big 4 banks have splintered in their approach to mandating COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of employment.

Both Westpac and Bank of Queensland have announced they will require all employees to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, citing the safety of their employees and customers as the primary reason for doing so. Westpac has said that it will be considering issues such as medical exemptions and treatment of employees who refuse to get the vaccine.

This approach, however, is not uniform across the banking industry in Australia. The Australian Banking Association has stated it will be up to the individual banks to determine their next steps upon consultation with their staff. NAB and ANZ, have chosen not to mandate the COVID-19 vaccine in circumstances where a significant percentage of their staff have already received the jabs or indicated an intention to do so. The Commonwealth Bank, on the other hand, will defer to each state's return-to-work guidelines which, in NSW, calls for double vaccinations by 1 December 2021.

Key considerations

Regardless of the decision of each bank, they must each ensure compliance with relevant state or Federal vaccine mandates.

All employers should consider what steps they are taking to follow official government guidelines to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19. These guidelines will vary between different States and Territories, so a 'one-size-fits-all' approach will not suffice.

For further information, see the Australian Financial Review, Big banks split over mandatory vaccines (14 October 2021).

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