Finance Work Virgin joins Qantas in pushing for mandatory vaccination of its frontline workforce

Virgin joins Qantas in pushing for mandatory vaccination of its frontline workforce

Virgin vaccination
Hundreds of passengers from two Virgin Australia flights have been ordered into COVID quarantine in Queensland. Photo: AAP
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Virgin Australia wants all frontline workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-November, joining Qantas in a push for mandatory inoculation.

The airline on Monday announced consultation will begin shortly with employees and unions about a proposal requiring all frontline workers to get vaccinated by November 15 and all office-based staff by March 31, 2022.

Those with medical issues “that can be substantiated” will be managed on a case-by-case basis, Virgin said in a statement.

Virgin Australia chief executive Jayne Hrdlicka said the vaccination policy was “vital” in keeping its workforce safe.

“The majority of our team at Virgin Australia are already vaccinated, and we will be listening to our team members to ensure we find the best fit policy for our organisation,” she said.

“We will now commence discussing the proposed vaccination requirement in detail with our team through our internal safety committees, unions and other appropriate forums.

“It is clear that vaccination is the only way back to normal freedom of movement and the richness in life that comes from spending meaningful, in person time with family, friends and colleagues.”

The airline said a final policy will be announced next month, after all feedback is considered.

Virgin will also begin an internal education campaign about the vaccines with qualified experts and said it will help workers to secure appointments and provide flexible working arrangements to allow staff to get vaccinated.

It comes less than two weeks after Qantas announced pilots, cabin crew and airport employees will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by mid-November.

Last month Qantas announced it would require its frontline employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Qantas and Jetstar pilots, cabin crew and airport workers will have until November 15 to be fully jabbed.

The deadline for other employees to be fully vaccinated is March 31, 2022.

The move will affect about 20,000 workers.

Chief executive Alan Joyce at the time said having a fully vaccinated workforce would help stop the spread of the virus.

“One crew member can fly into multiple cities and come into contact with thousands of people in a single day,” Mr Joyce said.

“Making sure they are vaccinated given the potential of this virus to spread is so important and I think it’s the kind of safety leadership people would expect from us,” he added.

Exemptions will be granted for people with documented medical proof showing they could not be vaccinated. But this is expected to be rare.