Are you COVID Compliant? The new Mandatory Vaccination Obligations for Specified / Authorised Workers.

You could be forgiven if you have started to become numb with the number of press conferences around COVID-19 restrictions and updates to regulations.

However, there is one very important piece of Victoria’s Roadmap to Freedom that, as an Employer or Company Director, you need to know. The new Mandatory Vaccination Obligations for Specified Workers.

Why do you need to be across this?

  1. The new Public Health Directive was announced on 7 October 2021
  2. Employers of Specified Workers must abide by the Health Directive
  3. If found to be non-compliant where you have “specified/authorised workers” on site and they are yet to receive their first vaccination as of Friday 15th October you are at risk of being fined $21,000 for the individual and up to $109,040 as an employer.
  4. You need to decide by Close of Business 15th October who is a specified/authorised worker and who, if not on the vaccination pathway is not permitted to come to site or can continue if they work from home.
  5. If we are ever to get back to business and harness the potential of a strong rebound economy it is imperative to play your part.

While no Employment Law expert myself, I have this week had the privilege of hearing from Tamsin Lawrence, Deputy Director of Workplace Relations for Australian Chamber of Commerce, and Industry and two Partners in the Employment Law Team of Piper Alderman, leading Australian Private Practice Law Firm.

So, from the experts this is what you need to know.

Do You Have Specified/Authorised Workers?

The list of Workers and Categories is extensive. Section 9 of DHHS Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions  outlines who is a Specified Worker. Click here to view Directions.

Are Your Specified/Authorised Workers on the Pathway to Vaccination?

The Public Health Directive allows you to ask for their vaccination certificate without being in breach of privacy, particularly medical privacy if you are solely asking for their proof of Covid-19 Vaccination. You can request the digital certificate which will state if they have received a single or double vaccine. You may also request the certificate that sits in their Service Victoria App and next their record from the vaccination clinic or from their Android/Apple Wallet.

If a specified worker is not willing to release their vaccination record, they are treated as unvaccinated.

What are the Privileges for Partially or Fully Vaccinated Workers?

If your specified/authorised workers have received one or both Covid-19 vaccines they can come to site.

Partially vaccinated have another hurdle and require to be fully vaccinated by the 26th November 2021 or cannot come to the workplace beyond this date if not fully vaccinated.

Non-vaccinated Specified/Authorised Workers

These individuals can continue working from home (if they can work from home) if not vaccinated.

If they are site-based workers, they cannot come onto site until they have received their first Covid-19 vaccine. This may require requesting staff to take leave (holiday or unpaid – not personal) until they have been issued their first vaccine.

If site workers refuse to be vaccinated, and they are an authorised/specified worker – under the current health directive they are not able to perform their role. If they continue to not be able to perform their role employers can look at stand-down, redundancy or terminating the employment contract*

*Lawyers are erring employers to proceed with caution as obligations are continually changing, and the stand-down/leave provision is the lowest risk option for employers right now.

Harvest’s HR & People Solutions division has Workplace Relations and Employment Lawyers on hand should you require further direction on this sensitive and urgent matter.

 

 

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