The Premier today announced a vaccine mandate for all Authorised Workers including fuel retail, wholesale and admin staff) in Victoria will be subject to a vaccination mandate.  All Authorised Workers will be required to have at least one dose of vaccine by 15/10 and second dose by at least 26/11.  ACAPMA explores the urgent communications that need to be made to staff now, as well as common Mandatory Vaccination Q&A.The announcement today by the Victorian Premier https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/vaccination-required-protect-workers-and-victoria that all persons who are on the Authorised Worker List, who are not working from home, will be required to be vaccinated.

The Direction that creates the mandate is not yet released, so it is not clear the full nature of any exemptions, though it is expected that there will be medical contraindication exemptions.

It is clear that the business will be required to ensure that workers that do not meet this requirement are not allowed onto site.

ACAPMA recommends reaching out to staff now to communicate the message around vaccination and to gather information about current vaccination status in order to be ready.

Sample Communication Letter

Dear [name],

 As you will have heard the VIC Government has announced a mandate for all Authorised Workers to be vaccinated – https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/vaccination-required-protect-workers-and-victoria

 The mandate states that all Authorised Workers will need to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 15/10/2021 and have the second dose by 26/11/2021.

 The mandate is being put in place by the Government and it is a requirement of the law that the business ensure that no Authorised Workers are allowed at work if they are not vaccinated after 16/10/2021.

 We understand that these changes are happening quickly and that they can be hard to follow. 

 Please urgently provide evidence of your vaccination status (vaccine certificate/proof of vaccination) and/or vaccination booking.

 We are working with authorities and government to understand options any exceptions now, but given that the vaccination requirement is law you would not be allowed onsite after 15/10/2021 unless you had received a vaccination. 

 Kindest Regards

Mandatory Vaccination Q & A

If the government has mandated vaccination and my staff cant or wont get vaccinated do I fire them?

Each situation will need to be looked at individually – and will depend on the actual Orders and Direction (when they are finally written), but broadly, if the government applies a requirement on employment that the employee cannot or chooses not to meet, then their employment will be untenable and the business could go through a show cause process.  As an example if the government made a law that in order to work in a school you must pass a working with children check, and there are staff at the school currently that cannot or will not pass a working with children check, then the employee no longer meets the inherent requirements of the role.

It is expected that there will be a medical exemption “a medical contraindication certificate” instead of evidence of vaccination.

This medical contraindication certificate will cover those who cannot take the vaccine – they will be allowed to come to work.  The business should keep a copy of the certificate.

For staff who refuse to get vaccinated the business will have to assess if there is any other option for gainful work in that role that can be done from home, and if not then it would be appropriate to standdown in the short term and terminate in the longer term, staff who cannot meet the legal requirements of employment in that role.  Those that flatly refuse, and cannot be gainfully employed in their role without having to trigger the legal requirement, would be asked to show cause as to why their employment should not be terminated for failure to meet legal requirements of the role.

What does the Show Cause process look like?

ACAPMA is on hand to help members through the Show Cause process…but that is step 3, step 1 is to find out if the staff are, or are planning to get vaccinated…and if there are staff that are not willing or able then reach out to ACAPMA and we will guide members through the next steps.

Can my business mandate vaccination?

Businesses can mandate vaccination, it is possible, but it is problematic – see;  https://acapmag.com.au/2021/08/mandatory-vaccination-change/

Here to Help

HR Highlights are things to consider, implement and watch out for in your business.  They are provided as general information for you to consider and do not constitute advice.  You should seek further advice on your situation by contacting your legal advisor.  ACAPMA members can access resources and receive advice, guidance and support from the ACAPMA employment professionals via employment@acapma.com.au, it is free for members.  ACAPMA Membership delivers this and more benefits, see; https://acapma.com.au/membership/ for more information.

Elisha Radwanowski BCom(HRM&IR)
ACAPMA

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