COVID-19 Workplace Vaccination Policy – updated template policy now available!

Recently, the Federal Government and the Fair Work Ombudsman released further guidance around the interaction between  COVID-19 vaccinations and workplaces.

Whilst the Federal Government continues to be clear that accessing the COVID-19 vaccination remains voluntary for most Australians, the aim of the vaccine rollout is also to have as many Australians as possible vaccinated in order to support a return to a pre-pandemic life, with limited restrictions.

Previously, the Federal Government announced that most employers should assume that they won’t be able to require their employees to be vaccinated against coronavirus. However, the Government has now stated that there may be circumstances where an employer may require their employees to be vaccinated, taking into account the particular workplace circumstances and the industry in which the employer operates. 

Based on this new information, ER Strategies has updated our COVID-19 Workplace Vaccination policy. 

The new policy incorporates the newly introduced 4-tier system, which can be used by employers to assess the reasonableness of a direction to require mandatory vaccination in the workplace.  

The 4-Tier System

The defined tiers are as follows: 

  • Tier 1 work, where employees are required as part of their duties to interact with people with an increased risk of being infected with coronavirus (for example, employees working in hotel quarantine or border control).  
  • Tier 2 work, where employees are required to have close contact with people who are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of coronavirus (for example, employees working in health care or aged care). 
  • Tier 3 work, where there is interaction or likely interaction between employees and other people such as customers, other employees or the public, in the normal course of their employment (for example, employees working in stores providing essential goods and services). 
  • Tier 4 work, where employees have minimal face-to-face interaction as part of their normal employment duties (for example, where they are working from home). 

It is important to note that the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t automatically make it reasonable for employers to direct employees to be vaccinated against the virus. Employers will need to consider their specific situation in line with relevant public health orders, and legislation dealing with Work Health and Safety, Anti-Discrimination and Privacy. 

Our updated policy template covers off the changing advice around vaccinations and workplaces, access to state and federal health orders, guidance to assist employers in determining how to assess reasonableness of any directions for vaccination, collection of health data and incentive programs.  

As vaccinations become more readily available, employers and employees are encouraged to work together to find solutions that suit their individual needs and workplaces. When considering a vaccination policy, employers must consider a collaborative approach that carefully balances the needs of the workplace with the legitimate rights of employees. All decisions made by employers in relation to a Workplace Vaccination Policy must take into account consultation obligations under industrial instruments and other legislation, including Privacy laws and Anti-Discrimination.  

ER Strategies Commentary – this document has been prepared for the benefit of ER Strategies’ clients and others,, but without our knowledge of your particular workplace or situation.
Before using this policy, ER Strategies’ clients are strongly encouraged to seek our professional advice as required, to determine the suitability of this document for your purposes.
Non-clients may contact us to discuss how we may assist you under a professional arrangement, to ensure the suitability of this document for your situation.
 

COVID-19 Workplace Vaccination Policy – Template

This space is rapidly evolving, and with the media attention around various vaccines, it is sure to elicit questions from your employees about how their workplace will continue to adapt its COVIDSafe plans as the pandemic progresses, including some employees who will be opposed to the concept of being required by their employer to be vaccinated, against their wishes. 

Clients with access to our  Online HR Resources service  can access the policy directly via their login to that service, under the Workplace Health and Safety category. 

The timing of this review has become critical as organisations can now begin to prepare for the next stages of dealing with the pandemic from a safety perspective. ER Essentials Subscribers and other non-clients can find more information about how to access our COVID-19 Workplace Vaccination policy here.

If you have previously accessed a copy of ER Strategies’ COVID-19 Workplace Vaccination Policy, you will automatically receive an email to the supplied email address containing an updated copy of the template policy.

Ongoing Policy Review

As the vaccination rollout continues, ER Strategies will continue to review this policy template in line with any applicable laws, enforceable government directions and advice issued by the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, as well as feedback suggested by clients.  

If you access our draft template and wish to provide any feedback or ask questions about this policy template and how it may relate to your workplace, then please call ER Strategies on 1300 55 66 37. 

Links to individual state/territory COVID-19 information:

NSW
ACT
VIC
SA
WA
NT
QLD

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