COVID-19 UPDATE

VACCINATION STATUS INFORMATION COLLECTION

Members have been seeking clarification on the process for declaration of vaccination status.

1. Under the mandatory health Order the work covered by the Order cannot be undertaken by workers that have not had at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine on or before 15 November 2021 and have the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccination no later than 1 January 2022.

2. The mandatory health Order requires the PCBU (a Person Conducting a Business or Undertaking under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015) to seek the vaccination status from any employee/volunteer who undertakes work covered by the Order.  If your position is listed below you will need to provide specific information including your vaccination status to FENZ.  If your position is not in the list below you do not need to provide your vaccination status and information.

3. The mandatory health order requires FENZ (as PCBU) to keep and maintain the following information:

  • Full name
  • Date of birth
  • Whether the person is vaccinated
  • If vaccinated, the name of the vaccine/s they have received and the date/s on which they received a dose or doses of the vaccine/s
    - If you do not have the vaccination dates available when filling out the form, this information can be provided later.  FENZ will accept a person is vaccinated if they state they are vaccinated without those dates.
    - If you do have your vaccination dates available when filling out the form, we encourage members to include that information
  • If the person is not vaccinated or has only received one dose, the latest dates in which the person must receive the first and/or second doses
  • If not vaccinated and relying on an exemption, confirmation of the exemption and a copy of the exemption and/or authorisation
    - Exemptions are provided by a suitably qualified health practitioner who has examined the affected person and has determined that the person has particular physical or other needs that the health practitioner has determined vaccinating that person would be in appropriate.  That health practitioner must provide written confirmation they have examined the person and made that determination.  

4. Any person who undertake work covered by the mandatory order must provide the above information to the PCBU as soon as practicable and update that information as soon as practicable after it changes.

5. Anyone who has not provided confirmation they are vaccinated on or by 15 November 2021 must be treated as unvaccinated on the 16th November 2021 until their vaccination status is provided.   

6. FENZ has requested personnel to complete the questionnaire available in Homebase or by link on the portal by 5 November 2021.  The provision of vaccination status by the 5th November 2021 is not a legal requirement but is a request in order to be able to plan and maintain minimum staffing and safe systems of work on 16 November 2021 onwards.  It will also enable FENZ to make decisions based on the number and location of unvaccinated employees and volunteers.  There is a legal requirement to provide the information as soon as practicable.

7. The NZPFU strongly encourages our members to provide their vaccination status to FENZ through the Homebase link or secure link by the 5th November 2021 or as soon as practicable. 

  • We have seen this questionnaire and confirm it is compliant with the information the employer must keep for any employee/volunteer undertaking work that can only be undertaken by vaccinated workers.
  • It is not the questionnaire we objected to and had removed on the 23 October 2021.  
  • The provision of the information through the Homebase or secure link is designed to comply with privacy requirements.
  • It will ultimately help us discuss options and alternatives for those that are unvaccinated.  We have asked members to notify the union (via secretary@nzpfu.org.nz) if they are not going to be vaccinated so we can focus our resources on those need support and advocacy to find alterative duties and options.

8. FENZ is going to release a dedicated telephone number for those that do not or cannot access the internet and/or Homebase.  The NZPFU encourages members to provide their information via Homebase and only use the dedicated phone number if unable to do so.

9. FENZ is collecting the information on a trust-basis.  FENZ will accept you are vaccinated if you state you are.  Members are reminded that the Government is developing vaccination documentation for presenation where proof of vaccination is required.  Therefore members are encouraged to ensure the information provided to FENZ is accurate.

LIST OF POSITIONS REQUIRING MANDATORY VACCINATION

The below positions have been determined to come within the Covid-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Amendment Order (no 3) 2021 requiring mandatory vaccination because that work would come within the following two sections of affected workers in Schedule 2 of the Order:

  • Workers who carry out work where health services are provided to members of the public by 1 or more health practitioners and whose role involves being within 2 metres or less of a health practitioner or a member of the public for a period of 15 minutes or more.
  • Workers over the age of 12 years who carry out work at or for an affected education service (including as a volunteer or an unpaid worker) and who –
    a.    may have contact with children or students in the course of carrying out that work; or
    b.    will be present at the affected education services at a time when children or students are also present

If your position is not listed below, then you do not have to be vaccinated and you do not provide your vaccination status/ fill out the questionnaire on Homebase or through the secure link.

If your substantive position is listed below but you are currently working/seconded in a position that is not listed, then you do not have to provide your vaccination status and information until you are returning to the position listed below.  Until you provide that information to FENZ you will be classified as unvaccinated.   If at that time the mandatory vaccination Order is still in place and you have not been vaccinated please contact the union for support and to advocate on your behalf for alternative work or options.

If you are on leave from a position listed below, you will need to provide your vaccination status and information to FENZ no later than your return to work date.  Until you provide that information to FENZ you will be classified as unvaccinated.   If at that time the mandatory vaccination Order is still in place and you have not been vaccinated please contact the union for support and to advocate on your behalf for alternative work or options.

Group – Role Title
Recruit Firefighter (VOL) District Manager
Firefighter (VOL) Group Manager
Firefighter Regional Manager
Qualified Firefighter (VOL) Operational Support (VOL)
Qualified Firefighter Rural Operational Support
Senior Firefighter (VOL) Advisor Community Readiness and Recovery
Senior Firefighter Advisor Risk Reduction
Chief Fire Officer (VOL) Community Risk Manager
Deputy Chief Fire Officer (VOL) Senior Advisor Community Readiness & Recovery
Officer in Charge (VOL) Senior Advisor Risk Reduction
Station Officer (VOL) USAR Doctor
Station Officer USAR Paramedic
Senior Station Officer (VOL) USAR Technician
Senior Station Officer USAR Logistics
Rural Medical Responder USAR Engineer
Rural Recruit Firefighter USAR Canine Handler
Rural Controller Poutakawaenga Māori/Māori Liaison
Rural Firefighter Co-located Brigades (case-by-case basis)
Rural Fire Officer Senior Officer on Call Rosters (District and Region)
Rural Deputy Controller
Rural Crew Leader
Crew Leader
Medical First Responder (VOL)

We remind members that the NZPFU will be focused on preserving employment for those not vaccinated. 

Until FENZ knows the level of unvaccinated personnel across the roles and locations, any options to remain employed are unknown.  It is likely that we will have to advocate for affected members individually.  We are meeting with FENZ on Monday 8 November to discuss the process and types of options that may be available for unvaccinated members who are employed in the above positions.

We remind everyone that we have members that are feeling pressured, stressed and anxious about the implications of the mandatory vaccination order and/or the risk of contraction of the virus.   Do not ask anyone their vaccination status or reasons for that status.  Please just be mindful of the seriousness of the situation and decisions our members are making.  Please offer support or find the appropriate person to reach out and offer support to anyone who is struggling and stressed.

These are extraordinary times. We will get through by working together and supporting each other.   Our focus must be on maintaining security of employment and supporting the health and wellbeing of our members.  Together strong. 

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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