Coles worker vax rates up in NSW, Vic

·2-min read

Coles has opted not to follow Woolworths in requiring all employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Company leaders on Wednesday outlined how they are encouraging staff to be vaccinated but stopped short of a blanket rule for the jab.

More than 70 per cent of Coles employees in the most COVID-affected states of NSW and Victoria are fully vaccinated. More than 94 per cent have had one shot.

Coles workers in the ACT, NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Northern Territory are required to be vaccinated by either company policy or state laws.

However, staff in Queensland, South Australia and Tasmania have no such imperative.

Coles chief executive Steven Cain told an annual general meeting the state orders had been highly successful in increasing vaccination rates.

The company has helped employees be vaccinated at distribution centres and manufacturing sites. It has also provided paid leave for staff needing time off work to be vaccinated.

Chairman James Graham said the company was trying to ensure staff understood the benefits of the vaccine to themselves, family and colleagues.

Last month, Woolworths flagged it will soon require Australian employees to be vaccinated unless they have a medical or religious exemption.

Canned food producer SPC, Qantas, Virgin Australia and Telstra are among other employers requiring staff to be vaccinated.

While supermarkets have not been major transmission sites during the pandemic, there have been cases linked to stores during outbreaks across the country.

Coles improved full-year profit by 7.5 per cent to $1.01 billion for its financial year to June 27.

Shareholders received a fully-franked final dividend of 28 cents per share, better than the 27.5 cents paid a year earlier.

Shares in the retailer on the ASX were down 0.2 per cent to $17.64 at 1322 AEDT.

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