As announced on 20/10/2021 the WA government is implementing a mandate that requires a broad list of workers be vaccinated. This mandate requires vaccination for some staff, with different dates for different categories.
The Mandate includes “petrol station, truck stop and roadhouse” workers as well as “commercial fright, transport or logistics” workers as Group 2 who are required to have their first dose by 31/12/2021 and to be fully vaccinated by 31/01/2022.
Fines for businesses and staff apply for failure to comply.
What should the business now?
- Businesses should reach out to staff now to communicate the requirement and to begin to gather information for the Register
- Businesses should commence Vaccination Register to record information
- Businesses should ensure that from 31/12/2021 staff, contractors and visitors (not customers – workers who are doing work at the site) are signing in and providing their vaccination status evidence
Sample Communication Letter
As you will have heard the WA Government has announced a mandate for certain workers to be vaccinated – https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/covid-communications/covid-19-coronavirus-mandatory-covid-19-vaccination-information
The mandate, which is law, states that certain workers will need to have at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 31/12/2021 and have the second dose by 31/01/2022 in order to come to work, unless they have a medical contraindication exemption.
As a [Fuel Retail/Fuel Wholesale/Fuel Transport/Fuel Administration] worker you are a Category 2 worker and this mandate applies to you.
The mandate is a law that has been put in place by the Government and it is a requirement of the law that the business ensure that no mandated workers are allowed at work if they have not had at least one dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccination by 31/12/2021 or a second dose before 31/01/2022.
Penalties apply to the business and to the workers who breach this law.
In order to meet the requirements of the law the business is required to collect, record and hold vaccination information about mandated workers and may be required to provide this evidence to authorities and third party businesses when your work takes you to a third party business workplace. The vaccine register will record name, status, date status evidence was viewed and who viewed the evidence.
We understand that these changes are happening quickly and that they can be hard to follow – for more information see; https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/covid-communications/covid-19-coronavirus-mandatory-covid-19-vaccination-information.
Please urgently provide the following information to your Site Manager;
Have you received your first dose? Yes / No
Have you received your second dose? Yes / No – If Yes please provide evidence (vaccination certificate / form etc)
Have you got a booking for a first dose? Yes / No – If Yes please indicate the booking date ___________
Have you got an exemption from vaccination? Yes / No – If Yes please provide copy of vaccination exemption
We understand that this announcement has come as a shock for some, we are 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 31/12/2021 unless you comply with the requirements. Providing required evidence to the business that you have had received at least one COVID-19 vaccination, have a booking for vaccination that will occur prior to 31/12/2021 and will receive your second dose before 31/01/2022 or have an approved medical contraindication is required as per the law. If you are legally unable to be at the workplace to undertake your work your employment will be untenable due to inability to meet the inherent physical requirements of the role and you will be asked to show cause as to why your employment should not be terminated for same.
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, but broadly, when 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.
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/
For general information see; https://www.wa.gov.au/government/announcements/mandatory-covid-19-vaccination-policy-wa-workforces and https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/covid-communications/covid-19-coronavirus-mandatory-covid-19-vaccination-information and Summary Information graphic – Mandate Summary Final – https://www.wa.gov.au/government/publications/covid-19-coronavirus-mandatory-covid-19-vaccination-summary
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 email@example.com, 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)