JAMAICA OBSERVER: On the heels of Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ prediction that mandatory vaccination will become inevitable, one of Jamaica’s largest employers has indicated that come October 15, 2021, all employees will need to present proof of partial or full vaccination, or a negative COVID-19 test every 14 days, in order to continue attending work at the company.
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In a letter to staff dated Wednesday September 29, 2021, the telecommunications giant Digicel informed that in a bid to “safeguard the health of our organization, people and customers”, employees should submit their vaccination cards to its human resources department by close of business on October 15.
The document went on to state that employees who are not vaccinated by October 15 will be required to submit a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test every two weeks before being permitted to work. The tests will be conducted at the employee’s expense and antigen tests will not be accepted, the letter informed.
Checks by OBSERVER ONLINE revealed that a PCR test costs upwards of $20,000.
The document goes on to explain that “any employee who is unable to produce a current PCR test result, and who cannot attend work for that reason, will be required to take the days on which they are absent as unpaid leave.” It also outlined that where applicable, employees can choose to have the days subtracted from their vacation allowance.
The company made it clear in the letter that employees will not be allowed to work remotely as a means to avoid taking the vaccine or PCR test.
Exemptions to the new policy will only be granted for medical reasons and the employee must first present a doctor’s report outlining why they are unable to be vaccinated, the company said.
The company also expressed that it is aware of the legal position in some markets and will deal with issues on a “case by case basis”.
“Furthermore, we are keenly aware that several governments have already mandated similar measures under more rigorous timelines, which have already been fully adhered to by our respective CEOs,” Digicel said.
Digicel becomes the latest private sector company in Jamaica to issue a vaccination mandate for workers following similar mandates implemented by Cari-Med Group Limited and CVM among others.