Covid 19 vaccinations – obligations and rights in the workplace
- Business News
- Managing a Business
Australia continues to make major steps forward in re-opening our country and living the “new normal” way of life.
International travel is back on the table in parts of the country, lockdown periods have reached an end for the eastern states and the workplace is well on track to being once again a buzzing hive of activity for all of Australia.
It has been the success in achieving vaccine targets set by both state and federal governments that has led to life beginning to look a little more recognisable.
While WA has enjoyed a smoother path through this difficult time, a mandatory Covid 19 vaccine policy has been instated to further protect the state as restrictions continue to ease.
“Mandating Covid 19 vaccinations for more than half of WA’s workforce sets out a safe and clear framework for industries and workers, based on our expert health advice,” said WA Premier Mark McGowan.
“WA needs to be prepared for community transmission and by mandating our essential and critical workforces we can maintain services, and businesses can continue to operate safely in the long term.”
The WA government has announced a “phased approach” of mandatory vaccinations based on public health risk, with about 75% of the state’s workforce accounted for.
WA’s mandatory vaccine rollout
First dose by December 1, 2021 and fully vaccinated by December 31, 2021
Industries determined to have high transmission risk, or are a vulnerability risk or are necessary or critical to the safety of the community.
First dose by December 31, 2021 and fully vaccinated by January 31, 2022
Industries and workforce deemed critical to ongoing delivery of business and the function of the community.
Must be fully vaccinated to attend work during a lockdown or similar restrictions
These critical workers must be fully vaccinated to leave home to attend work, to decrease transmission risk and prevent impact on the delivery of services.
Managing vaccines in the workplace
Employers may be considering the need for a staff policy about Covid 19 vaccinations and whether it is necessary for their workplace.
Afterall, not conforming to the legal requirements could see both the employer and employee slapped with hefty fines if an unvaccinated staff member is working “on-site.”
Before implementing a vaccination policy, employers should consider the industry they are in, legal obligations, and each employee and their individual circumstances.
Employers can support their workers by:
- Providing leave or paid time off to get vaccinated.
- Continuing to provide reliable and up to date information to employees about the vaccination. Sites such as the Department of Health WA can help employees learn more about the effectiveness of the Covid vaccines available to them.
- Providing alternate work arrangements for those employees who do not wish to be vaccinated or don’t yet have access to vaccinations.