Media group News Corp Australia is joining a growing list of businesses in the country that are banning unvaccinated workers from their premises. The decision adds traction to calls for employers to step up their COVID-19 vaccination drive among staff.
Starting in 2022, the ban will be enforced across its headquarters and regional publications. It will also include employees of Sky News Australia and Foxtel, The Guardian first reported.
The mandate will require staff members to submit proof of their vaccination to be allowed into News Corp premises and to expedite the security process upon entry.
"At our townhall [meeting] earlier this month, we spoke about our approach to vaccination and our desire to keep all our people safe at News," said Ruth Allen, chief people officer at News Corp.
"You heard how vaccination is strongly encouraged for everyone who works at News and, from next year, vaccination will be required to enter a News building unless you have a medical (or other reasonable) exemption," Allen said.
Last month, the ABC introduced similar measures prohibiting employees in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory from entering worksites if the employees had not yet been fully vaccinated.
Managers, however, will work with individual staff members who are unable to comply with the new rules to check whether "reasonable adjustments can be made to minimise risk" to the worker and the entire staff, said David Anderson, managing director of the ABC.
"The risk to staff and operations posed by exposure to COVID remains significant and we will continue to monitor the situation and follow public health advice with regard to people attending our workplaces," Anderson said.
Other employers in Australia are following a similar approach. In August, canned food maker SPC said it would bar from their premises any worker who wasn't fully immunised. The policy is scheduled to be in force by the end of November.
"Lockdowns are not a sustainable solution, and the Australian economy needs to open up again," said SPC Chairman Hussein Rifai on the mandate.