Spotlight Group has decided that bonuses to its employees will only be given on the condition that they are vaccinated against COVID-19. In an internal email sent to 8,000 staff members, Spotlight Group said that the employees are required to give evidence of their vaccination status in order to receive the end of the year incentives.
The email read, “For those of you who are otherwise eligible for a festive bonus this year, in order to both ensure that you now qualify and that it is processed early, please provide your manager with confirmation of your vaccination status,”.
The company assured that Christmas payments will be processed two months earlier for 8,000 staff members if they complete at least one dosage of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Avi Gilboa, Spotlight Managing Director, said that vaccinations are the only medium to put an end to the corona crisis, lockdowns and promulgate reopening the Australian economy. He believes that staff incentivisation is very important to reduce the risk of transmission to its team members and customers.
Giri Sivaraman, a principal lawyer at Maurice Blackburn raised a few important points regarding the legality of coupling up the fulfillment of vaccination requirements with bonuses. He noted that these types of policies should be based on fair criteria like bonuses should be given on the basis of employee performance and meeting targets. Seemingly, according to the Spotlight policy, an employee has to go through a medical procedure and treatment to receive bonuses making it quite unusual.
Sivaraman did not strike it off as inherently unlawful but said that if an employee because of certain medical conditions cannot adhere to the Spotlight Group guidelines, can raise a compelling argument of being unfairly discriminated against.
Another plausible concern is the gaining cognizance of the fact that who has better accessibility to vaccines depending on their location, age, area of residence and other factors. Assessing the vaccine rollout program of Australia would be a crucial way to discern the accessibility and distribution of vaccines across ages.
He suggested that in order to make the policy fair for everyone, it is important to have consultations and discussions with employees on the issue of vaccinations, its significance and all factors associated with it. He added, “If you’ve had your consultation and taken into account availability of vaccinations and also worked out what you can do for those who medically can’t get vaccinated, and it would only be a few people, then maybe at the end talk about the incentives.”