Crown considers 'no jab, no entry' policy

·3-min read

Casinos operator Crown is considering a 'no jab, no entry' policy for patrons as it pushes for its 20,000 staff across Australia to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

The gaming group is consulting with its workers and other stakeholder groups about the COVID-19 vaccination policy, which will affect visitors and workers.

It cited a survey of Crown employees in Melbourne, Sydney and Perth conducted last week showing 63 per cent supported the idea of a mandatory vaccination policy in the hospitality sector.

Crown Resorts and Crown Melbourne boss Steve McCann said it had been urging workers to get vaccinated for a while, but it was time to be more "proactive".

"As such a significant hospitality employer in Australia with resorts that hosted over 30 million visits a year pre-COVID, we need to take measures to help keep people safe," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

"That starts with our employees but also extends to our guests and the broader community.

"This is about protecting every Australian."

The staff survey also found 60 per cent of respondents were already fully vaccinated or had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Crown plans to make it easier for more workers to get vaccinated by offering three hours of paid leave for each vaccination.

Workers will also be entitled to an extra day of paid sick leave if needed.

Those already vaccinated, or currently stood down due to closures, will receive a $50 gift voucher.

"COVID-19 has devastated the hospitality industry, and that has been felt acutely by our people," Mr McCann said.

"Supporting the vaccination target rates set by governments is going to help our industry reopen, stay open and recover faster."

However, the union representing the majority of Crown workers says the announcement will cause "unnecessary angst" for those who have been unable to book a vaccine appointment.

"The vaccine rollout has been bungled from the start, not just through the lack of availability and access but through confusing and mixed messaging from all layers of government," United Workers Union casino director Dario Mujkic said in a statement.

"The announcement that Crown will mandate vaccines will cause unnecessary angst among casino workers, who, like the general public, have been subject to confusing messaging and disinformation campaigns.

"Vaccine mandates should be directed by elected governments based on expert health advice and should not be at the discretion of corporations, whether that be Crown or anyone else."

Crown is among a number of Australian companies - such as Qantas, Virgin Australia, Telstra and SPC - heading down the mandatory vaccination route.

But the issue is fraught for businesses, Australian Industry Group CEO Innes Willox warns, given they are going it alone without any federal government or regulatory backup.

He said the issue was going to be "one of the most difficult industrial and business issues that we've confronted".

"It will end up ... in the courts at various times, in different tribunals, Fair Work and the like, and we will need in the end to get some clearer directions," Mr Willox told the Nine Network.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews praised Crown, the biggest single-site employer in the state, for their initiative.

He said the government was working with its federal counterparts on a vaccine passport system.

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