Workers offered day off if they reach Covid-19 vaccine target


Workers offered a day off if they reach the Covid-19 vaccine target.

A Christchurch company says it will give all staff a day off if 90 per cent are vaccinated by the end of the month and will hold a $2500 prize draw for those who can prove they’ve had two jabs.

But it has a challenge ahead, with just 61 per cent double-dosed so far.

Landpower’s general manager of people and culture, Belinda de Zwart, said the company, which imports and sells farm equipment, employs 350 staff across New Zealand and Australia.

About 200 New Zealand staff work in dealerships from Northland to Gore.

De Zwart said the company realised early on that vaccination was a “sensitive topic” but wanted information about its employees status.

“This is why we’ve offered ... if we get to that 90 per cent goal, you can go into one of three draws to win $2500.”

The move comes as data shows a Government scheme to offer the Covid-19 vaccine in workplaces has failed to achieve its potential.

Just over 10 per cent of vaccine doses (83,804) that could have been given (700,000) through the Ministry of Health’s workplace vaccination scheme have been delivered.

About 250 businesses responded to an offer for workplace vaccines, but only 58 met the criteria of having more than 1000 staff or a high proportion of Māori and Pacific workers. As of October 10, just 29 businesses had offered workplace vaccine clinics.

Covid-19 vaccine director Rachel MacKay said some businesses that expressed interest had staff who were essential workers, and they were prioritised for vaccinations following the Delta outbreak in late August.

“Some are still determining the number of their staff who are unvaccinated and still intend to join the programme,” MacKay said.

The ministry referred 150 businesses that did not meet the criteria to district health boards.

The Canterbury District Health (CDHB) was working with fewer than 10 businesses to arrange workplace vaccine clinics.

One of those is Original Foods bakery, which held a vaccine clinic for about 40 staff on Friday.

Chief executive Anthony Honeybone said he was not sure about the vaccine status of his 200 employees but hoped their participation in a lottery would help him find out.


“For three months running, we’re going to offer cash prizes of $250, $150, $100 and product prizes.”

To enter, staff needed to show they were fully vaccinated and be prepared to share that information if they won.

The lottery would culminate with a pre-Christmas prize draw of a helicopter ride for five people around the Port Hills, Honeybone said.

Honeybone said he realised the opportunities provided for the vaccination were “not necessarily going to capture everyone” in late August, so tried to arrange on-site vaccinations through a pharmacist friend in early September.

“He spent a day on the phone trying to make it happen, but I don’t think the systems and processes were in place, and it just became too hard.”

A few weeks ago, Honeybone responded to an offer by the Canterbury Employers' Chamber of Commerce to help organise on-site clinics through the CDHB.

He said New Zealand’s Covid-19 roll-out lacked creative approaches.

“We were probably slow in ... making the vaccine as accessible and available to the range of people and how they socialise and where they go ... but we’re starting to do a good job of catching that up.”

Honeybone said he was “absolutely” aware some staff were unsure about getting the vaccine.

He said the business needed to walk a line between respecting workers’ individual choices and doing what it could to keep people safe from Covid-19.

Meadow Mushrooms, which employs 500 people of at least 30 different nationalities, offered an onsite vaccine clinic on Friday, with just 30 people attending. The company would hold another one in early November.

It expressed interest in an on-site clinic facilitated by the Ministry of Health in July and, while waiting, offered staff paid leave, so they could get vaccinated at a community clinic.

“We’re not necessarily about incentivisation but about reducing the barriers to getting it done,” chief executive Todd Grave said.

Friday’s on-site clinic was “very much about a top-up” because many staff had already got their vaccine by the time it was offered.

Grave said about 70 per cent of employees were now single or double vaccinated.

“That’s testament to people feeling comfortable with it.”

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