Ballarat businesses are coming to grips with the vaccination mandate announced by the state government at the start of October.
From October 22, authorised workers in more than 30 industries will have to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or have a valid medical exemption, to continue to work on-site, and be fully vaccinated by November 26.
While from Friday, workers can continue to work on-site if they show proof of having a vaccination booking before October 22.
Food wholesaler NaturesCargo previously offered incentives to employees to get the vaccine, which has helped it get on the front foot before the government mandate came into play.
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Sales manager Ben Wilkie said while some employees were hesitant to receive the vaccine before the mandate, they booked their appointments shortly after it was announced.
"We supply hospitals, prisons, aged care facilities, places that can't close, so we are an essential service. We did have a few people that were a bit hesitant to get the vaccine, but since they mandated it, they all have," he said.
"We've been quite fortunate, we haven't had any upset or frustrated people that I know of in the business. We sent out an email to all staff notifying them or reminding them of the government mandate, which was received fairly well by everyone."
Mr Wilkie said while the company was still working through some of the ramifications for unvaccinated people, he confirmed they would not be allowed on-site in line with the mandate.
"Everyone that arrives here will be asked to check-in. We have QR codes on our forklifts, which typically go out to unload the truck, they will check-in and now our apps have the certification tick, they'll check in on that. If there's no certification tick, they will be asked to leave the site immediately," he said.
After getting a head start in the national rollout, the disability sector is well-placed for when the mandate kicks in from Friday.
McCallum executive manager of people and culture Lauren Baker said 97 per cent of its workforce had received at least one dose of vaccine.
"From the start, we've just been regularly communicating with our team and encouraging them about the benefits of vaccination, and that's seen a really great take up," she said.
However, Ms Baker said there was still a small portion of McCallum's workforce, about 10 people, that was hesitant to get the jab despite the mandate.
"We know that the vaccination topic is a personal one and it creates a high level of anxiety and concern in some individuals, so we're just working with them individually to try and provide lots of information and to support them because, at the end of the day, we're bound to follow the directions, so we don't have a choice and we want to bring everyone with us on this journey, hopefully," she said.
"For the others that still haven't chosen to be vaccinated, we've met with them all, they've also received letters and we've been corresponding with their relevant unions, so they'll be stood down from tomorrow from being able to work on-site.
"As disability support workers, obviously all of their work is in the field and in community, you're not able to work from home so unless they've got valid medical exemptions, then they won't be able to be on the roster. If they wish to request any paid leave entitlements in that time, they're able to do so, but really, from our point of view, those remaining three per cent, they'll be stood down from duties from tomorrow."
A Mars spokesperson said the business had implemented a system to ensure its workers were vaccinated in line with the requirements.
"Mars has taken all reasonable steps to ensure that it is able to meet the worker vaccination requirements. Mars has established a clear process to allow workers to produce the required records and to record sightings of these records appropriately," the spokesperson said.
"We strongly encourage all associates to get vaccinated to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to support the role we play in helping our communities stay safe and return to a greater state of normality."
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