Jab HiFi Under Attack Over Their Double Jab Their Staff Policy
By Alex Turner-Cohen
NSW staff at JB Hi-Fi must receive both doses of the coronavirus vaccine if they want to return to work in stores across the state.
When restrictions lift next Monday on October 11 after the state’s population hits 70 per cent double dosed, only employees who are fully-vaccinated will be allowed to work the floor of the tech retail giant.
Last Thursday, the managing director of JB Hi-Fi told staff members across the company’s 63 NSW stores that if they aren’t vaccinated they won’t be able to work until government rules change.
The statewide email was leaked to news.com.au by a staff member who is frustrated because they won’t be fully-vaccinated in time.
In the memo, staff will be divided into four categories: fully-vaccinated, single-vaccinated, unvaccinated and medically exempt.
Those who’ve had their first jab will be offered 10 days extra “discretionary leave” to tide them over until they can receive their final dose and return to work. The medically exempt also get the extra leave.
For those who haven’t got their first jab, they’ll have to use up unpaid leave or chip into their accrued annual leave.
A JB Hi-Fi spokesperson told news.com.au the decision had been made for “the health, safety and wellbeing of our team members and our customers” and they couldn’t see any other way to comply with government rules for reopening.
“We strongly encourage our teams to be vaccinated ready for the permitted opening date,” the email says.
Later on, the managing director also writes: “I am advising today on what this (the reopening plan) means for our team in NSW, to give you options to consider and to give you time to prepare.
“We also acknowledge the period of time it takes to become double vaccinated.
“With this in mind, we are pleased to announce that we will be supporting you by offering up to 10 days’ discretionary leave for those team members who have had their first vaccination but may not have been able to receive their second vaccination by the reopening date.”
For the unvaccinated category of employee, JB Hi-Fi added: “Please note fast-tracking your first vaccination will enable you move into the category as outlined in point 2.”
On the December 1 reopening date, it appears workers who have not received both jabs may be able to return to work.
In the email (which can be seen in full above), JB Hi-Fi stated: “Team members … will be paid … Discretionary Leave … from the permitted reopening date to the date of their second vaccination, or the removal of the Government requirements, whichever is sooner.”
It’s estimated NSW’s adult population will be at 90 per cent vaccinated by December, meaning the government is dropping all restrictions against anti-vaxxers.
A JB Hi-Fi spokesperson said of the decision: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our team members and our customers remains our highest priority.
“We support Government efforts to manage Covid-19 and their plans to re-open the states and territories.
“JB Hi-Fi’s position at this time is that we will comply with all Government requirements regarding mandatory vaccinations, but we will not impose additional vaccination requirements on our workforce or customers.”
Full-time, permanent part-time and casual employees at the retail store told news.com.au they felt the situation had been “handled poorly”.
“We are not anti-vax staff (but) we are crying to get appointments for our vaccinations,” one said.
“Some of us have our vaccinations booked but due to appointments and vaccine shortages we are unable to get fast-tracked to meet this deadline for our first or second doses that we require.
“Some of us are being forced to use our own sick and personal leave and those who don’t have it, bad luck.
“I just want to express our disappointment in this company to be so careless and place us into hardship.”
They’re not the only customer-facing company to essentially mandate the vaccine for workers.
Fruit and vegetable canned food company SPC was the first Australian company to mandate the vaccine for its staff on August 5.
On June 28, the government also agreed to make the Covid-19 vaccination for all residential aged care workers compulsory. Health care workers must also be vaccinated against Covid-19.
Telstra has mandated the vaccine for its frontline staff as has travel company Virgin to its 6000 employees.
Other retail and hospitality companies have even gone a step further.
Last week, a letter leaked on Facebook has revealed that retail giant Best & Less will exclude unvaccinated customers from its NSW stores.
Sydney’s Aria restaurant, owned by TV chef Matt Moran and Bruce Solomon, said it would only be taking bookings onwards from people who were fully vaccinated.
Qantas Group CEO Alan Joyce has also confirmed the Australian airline will mandate Covid-19 vaccinations for all passengers flying overseas, as the country gears up to reopen some international routes by Christmas.
Australian gambling giant, Crow Resorts, has mandated its Covid-19 vaccination not just for its 20,000 staff members but also potentially for its millions of customers.