APS Bank Malta has announced that unvaccinated staff will have to test negative for COVID-19 every week, effective as of 1st August.
The new policy, which was published on Simon Mercieca’s blog, obliges bank staff to send a copy of their vaccination certificates or vaccination cards by not later than 31st July.
As of 1st August, staff members who haven’t complied will be asked to carry out a weekly PCR test on a Friday, if they’re working a five-day week, or a Saturday, if they’re working a six-day week.
If the test is performed during office hours, the time taken will be deducted from their vacation leave.
If they test negative for COVID-19, they will have to send their line manager a copy of the result before reporting to work from the office the next Monday.
Over 550 people, permanent staff, trainees, students and temps, currently work at APS Bank, making it a pretty major employer.
APS Bank CEO Marcel Cassar told Lovin Malta that the bank never required or imposed on its staff to get vaccinated and neither are they doing so now.
“At the same time you will appreciate what a massive disruption these past 17 months have been for our operations and we have spent hundreds of thousands of euros to keep our staff, customers and their families/dependants protected at all times while keeping the Bank operational 24/7,” he said. “I think that our story is an exemplary one of success in that regard.”
“But with the vast majority of staff, customers, families, etc vaccinated (718k doses administered as of today), it is our duty, as a responsible employer, to take additional measures for the better protection of everyone.”
“So all we’re doing is asking our staff, including students, trainees, temps, etc., to send a copy of their vaccination certificates or vaccination cards by not later than 31 July 2021 in confidence to our Human Capital Department.”
“We are also making exceptions for those who have a valid medical or other reason not to be vaccinated, asking them to contact Human Capital for guidance.”
“For the few who may not send their certification/card or do not have a valid, medical/other justification, we shall be requiring a negative PCR test. So there is a choice and no one is being pressured into anything.”
“But, I repeat, it is our responsibility as a good employer to look after the wellbeing of thousands – between staff, customers, their families and friends – who want to plan their social lives, work schedules, vacation, travels, etc. while still respecting the wishes of those few who are not vaccinated.”
Cassar added that he hopes other employers follow the bank’s example.
Last week, Prime Minister Robert Abela urged employers to “convince” their non-vaccinated employees to get vaccinated, employees to do likewise to their non-vaccinated employers, and parents to inoculate their children.
“So long as that 20% remain non-vaccinated, the reality is we will keep on extending the period until we return to normality. The pandemic will probably end when the whole world is vaccinated,” he said.