Westpac and CBA mandate COVID-19 vaccines for staff

The country’s two biggest banks, Westpac and Commonwealth Bank, will require staff to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, saying the mandate is needed to protect the safety of staff and customers.

The move from the two financial giants will affect about 75,000 staff around Australia, including tens of thousands of workers in the central business district of Sydney, where both lenders are based.

Westpac CEO Peter King: “With a large workforce, it is important that we have the safest possible work environment.”Credit:Jessica Hromas

Melbourne-based NAB and ANZ are not mandating the COVID-19 vaccination.

Westpac chief executive Peter King emphasised the safety and health of staff of customers as the bank’s top priority, particularly given the expectation that COVID-19 cases would rise in the community as restrictions ease.

The bank said it would require that staff are vaccinated in order to attend a workplace, and it would work through medical exemptions.

“We recently asked our employees for their views on vaccination and received more than 10,000 responses. Pleasingly, 91 per cent said they are, or intend to be, vaccinated, with a further 4 per cent undecided,” Mr King said in a statement.

“Like other essential services, banking has remained open during the pandemic to support customers through COVID and with their banking needs. With a large workforce, it is important that we have the safest possible work environment.

A CBA spokesman said the policy of mandating vaccination was consistent with the bank’s focus on staff and customer safety, and the need to help Australia’s economy weather the major economic effects of the pandemic.

“In line with our ongoing efforts to protect our people and customers from the health risks associated with COVID-19, CBA will require all employees around Australia to be fully vaccinated,” a CBA spokesman said.

“This follows regular feedback from our employees and customers who want certainty, consistency and confidence as the economy re-opens and life in our communities returns to normal.”

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