Old Mutual has announced that it has adopted a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for its employees in South Africa, effective 01 January 2022. Employees will be required to declare and submit proof of their vaccination status to the company.
Iain Williamson, Chief Executive at Old Mutual says that the company has a moral obligation to make and support decisions that will benefit the long-term wellbeing of its employees, customers and stakeholders.
“Across the world, vaccinations are proving to be the key to unlocking economic activity, returning life to a more normal rhythm, preventing severe illness and death, decreasing transmission rates, as well as reducing the emergence of new variants of the disease. We believe that mandatory vaccination is an important step to ensuring we create a safer working environment for our employees and our customers and contributing to the much needed economic recovery” Williamson says.
Over the last 18 months the company has lost 55 colleagues. We have also seen an increase in claims, as a result of Covid-19. The pandemic has also cost Old Mutual around 25 000 ‘person days’ or 100 full time equivalents (FTEs) of productivity due to self-isolation as a result of either infections or exposure.
“This tragically high death rate and the negative impact on the mental and financial health of individuals, communities, schools and businesses compels us to take action. Ensuring that as many people as possible are vaccinated and protected against this threat is clearly the right and rational thing to do,” Williamson says.
As a responsible corporate citizen, Old Mutual is committed to mitigating, minimizing and managing COVID-19 and its effects on its people, society and business. The insurer has run a number of programmes to create vaccine awareness and encourage employees to be vaccinated including the establishment of a Covid-19 staff portal with articles, podcasts, videos, webinars with experts, ongoing vaccination competitions and the opportunity to have one-on-one discussions with dedicated medical professionals.
In terms of its policy, employees will be afforded an opportunity to object to mandatory vaccination on valid grounds and each exemption application will be assessed on its merits by an Exemptions Committee.
“The scale of this public health crisis calls for collective actions that are motivated by what is in our best interests as a business, a society and a country. We believe it is both our practical and moral duty to play a proactive role in combating this global catastrophe. This is in keeping with our purpose and founding values which at its core is to Champion Mutually Positive Futures Everyday for our employees, customers and communities” Williamson concludes.