Caritas and APS Bank are dead set to make their non-vaccinated employees feel as the odd ones out.

Blog post by Marica Micallef

Caritas Malta and APS bank, both associated with the Archidiocese, have both sent similar notices to their employees.  APS notice stated:

  1. Bank staff, including students/trainees and temporary/part-time employees, are to send a copy of their vaccination certificates or vaccination cards by not later than 31st July 2021 to health@apsbank.com.mt
  2. Members of staff who have a valid medical or other legal reason not to be vaccinated are to contact Human Capital for guidance.

B) As from 1st August 2021, members of staff who would have not sent in a copy of their vaccination certificate/card on health@apsbank.com.mt will be asked to:

i) Carry out a WEEKLY PCR test (not a rapid test) on a Friday (5-day week), or Saturday (6-day week), and if the test is performed during office hours such time will be deducted from the staff member’s vacation leave.

ii) Send the respective line-manager a copy of the negative PCR test result prior to reporting to work from the office the following Monday.

On the other hand, Caritas Malta, the NGO whose mission “is to alleviate poverty and promote human development and social justice, witnessing to the Christian faith and Gospel values” has sent a document to the non-vaccinated staff entitled “Guidelines for staff members not vaccinated against Covid-19”. The document reads:

In the scenario that the country is moving towards the gradual release of preventive measures related to the Covid-19 pandemic, supported by the fact that the population will achieve herd immunity in the coming weeks, it is becoming evident that when issuing guidelines, the Health Authorities are distinguishing between vaccinated individuals and those who opted not to take the vaccine.

In view of this, Caritas Malta, as an employer must take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of its staff members and beneficiaries when considering that the pandemic is not really over, and therefore, we still need to maintain a high degree of prevention within the organisation especially in the case of staff who are not vaccinated.

When taking decisions we must follow what science tells us. It is evident that although the available vaccines do not give a full-proof protection against Covid-19, their effectiveness can reach and go beyond 90% which is rather significant. Hence, in the case of non-vaccinated staff members, we must resort to alternative measures to keep prevention levels high.

For this reason, those staff members who opted not to take the vaccine are required to follow the following guidelines: They need to inform their colleagues about their decision, wearing masks at all times and take a regular PCR test, besides taking temperature at the start of each shift / workday, sanitize hands and surfaces frequently, not staying in enclosed rooms with many persons together and maintain social distancing of at least 2 metres as much as possible.

These non-vaccinated workers are being made to feel as the Jews who lived under the Christian Commonwealth during the Late Middle Ages.

My question is and will always be:  under what legal merit are these institutions acting? Are they breaking the law on various counts?

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