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New COVID directions apply from 15 October 2021

Just a quick but important note to make sure that you are on top of the new COVID-19 directions in relation to mandatory vaccinations and how they apply to your business.

In summary:

  • The directions make employers responsible for not permitting staff to work anywhere that is away from their homes from 15 October 2021, unless they are at least partially vaccinated (or an excepted person).
  • Employers are also required to immediately notify any staff scheduled to work away from home on and from 15 October 2021 of key parts of the new directions, particularly in relation to mandatory vaccinations.
  • Employers are required to collect and store worker vaccine status information – that means whether the worker is fully vaccinated, partially vaccinated, unvaccinated with a booking to be vaccinated, unvaccinated with no booking to be vaccinated or medically exempt. The circumstances for medical exemptions will be exceptional, meaning that most people will be required to be vaccinated.
  • Information in relation to vaccine status is health information and must be stored according to the Privacy Act 1988.
  • Failure to comply with directions can attract up to a 600 penalty unit fine for companies ($109,044). This includes a failure to give written notice to employees of the direction, a failure to keep the information, or by permitting unvaccinated workers to work away from home.
  • As the directions require employers to collect status of vaccination as early as 15 October 2021 (if workers are expected to work away from home on and from that date), employers must give employees the prescribed written notice immediately.

A more detailed summary of the directions can be found here.
The full directions can be accessed here.

If you would like to discuss these or any other Employment Law issues, please contact Heather Richardson or Peter Lettieri.