4 August 2021

National Australia Bank (NAB) continues to refuse to grant its staff two days paid vaccination leave while banks in NSW, QLD, and Victoria are listed by state health authorities as Covid exposure sites.

The recent COVID19 outbreaks and associated lockdowns and restrictions across the country have put finance workers on the ‘frontline,’ particularly those working in retail branches. NAB is lagging behind the other major banks and large companies in refusing paid vaccination leave.

The Finance Sector Union (FSU) has successfully negotiated paid vaccination leave for 150,000 finance workers. Other major banks and finance sector employers have understood the importance of encouraging staff to get a jab and making it easier for them to do so while banks remain open because they are essential services.

FSU National Secretary Julia Angrisano said NAB’s chief executive Ross McEwan was using lockdowns as an opportunity to seek publicity for the bank without improving Covid leave provisions for the NAB workforce.

“NAB’s chief executive Ross McEwan has given media interviews backing the need for the community to be vaccinated while at the same time refusing to back his own staff with paid vaccination leave.”

Mr McEwan told the SMH and the Age: “If we want to get out of this and get back to the freedoms that we used to have, let’s get vaccinated. The more people who take up the option of getting vaccinated, the sooner these lockdowns are restricted.”

Ms Angrisano said Mr McEwan had also suggested people who did not choose to be vaccinated should “stay home” while the economy was allowed to reopen.

“Bank staff are clearly at risk of contracting Covid-19 as the highly infectious D-variant spreads throughout the community,” Ms Angrisano said.

“We believe it is in the best interests of all finance sector workers and the broader community for a high proportion of staff to be vaccinated and we are calling on the NAB to rethink its opposition to granting paid vaccination leave.”

Ms Angrisano said any NAB staff directed to isolate for 14 days would have used up the bank’s 10-day pandemic leave provision, with no leave left to seek vaccinations.

“Ross McEwan is correct that high levels of vaccinations are the key to getting back to a normal.”

“It’s time for the NAB to step up and join their competitors and give staff paid vaccination leave to get vaccinated and deal with any side effects.”

Media contact John Hill 0412 197 079

Authorised by Julia Angrisano, National Secretary