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On Friday 1 October, the Victorian Government announced that all workers on the authorised worker list will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend, or continue to attend, their workplaces.

are you included in the authorised list?

Notably, the list of authorised workers has significantly expanded, so the list should be reviewed as your workforce or industry may now be listed. The vaccine mandate (once formally made) will extend to workers across metropolitan and regional Victoria, irrespective of whether their current LGA is experiencing lockdown restrictions.

what are the key deadlines for authorised workers?

It has been announced that authorised workers will need their first vaccine dose by Friday, 15 October to continue working onsite, and their second dose by Friday, 26 November. Workers who are already subject to specific industry vaccination requirements (such as in the construction and education sectors) will still need to comply with vaccination requirements established in any separate directions that continue to apply to them.

considerations for affected businesses

In complying with the new vaccination requirements, businesses will need to make vital decisions with varying levels of complexity. Whilst the vaccine mandate does take some pressure off for businesses that were considering but unsure as to whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, it does not overcome all the issues. Businesses must still navigate a variety of considerations, such as how to respond to employees expressing anti-vaccine sentiment or vaccine hesitancy and managing such employees who cannot work because of the mandate.

Proper advice should be sought when considering Employment law issues as a result of the mandate, including on:

  • what information needs to be requested from employees, and how employers should go about making such a request;
  • what exemptions may apply;
  • how to manage employees who refuse to provide the necessary information about their vaccination status, or refuse to be vaccinated, including whether you can or should rely on “lawful and reasonable directions” as a basis for taking disciplinary action;
  • Occupational Health and Safety considerations; and
  • risk management and related disputes.

privacy law considerations at play

In addition to employment law implications, the mandate may also have an impact on Privacy law issues regarding operator obligations and record keeping. Businesses should be aware of the privacy requirements for collecting, using, and disclosing vaccination status information about employees, contractors, customers/clients, and other workplace visitors. This is particularly important given the special protections afforded to such sensitive health information under our privacy laws.

contact us

For advice on the above obligations and assistance with drafting suitable workplace communications, please contact Macpherson Kelley’s Employment Safety and Migration or Commercial teams.

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vaccine mandate for authorised workers in victoria

06 October 2021
kelly dickson greta walters

On Friday 1 October, the Victorian Government announced that all workers on the authorised worker list will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend, or continue to attend, their workplaces.

are you included in the authorised list?

Notably, the list of authorised workers has significantly expanded, so the list should be reviewed as your workforce or industry may now be listed. The vaccine mandate (once formally made) will extend to workers across metropolitan and regional Victoria, irrespective of whether their current LGA is experiencing lockdown restrictions.

what are the key deadlines for authorised workers?

It has been announced that authorised workers will need their first vaccine dose by Friday, 15 October to continue working onsite, and their second dose by Friday, 26 November. Workers who are already subject to specific industry vaccination requirements (such as in the construction and education sectors) will still need to comply with vaccination requirements established in any separate directions that continue to apply to them.

considerations for affected businesses

In complying with the new vaccination requirements, businesses will need to make vital decisions with varying levels of complexity. Whilst the vaccine mandate does take some pressure off for businesses that were considering but unsure as to whether to mandate COVID-19 vaccines, it does not overcome all the issues. Businesses must still navigate a variety of considerations, such as how to respond to employees expressing anti-vaccine sentiment or vaccine hesitancy and managing such employees who cannot work because of the mandate.

Proper advice should be sought when considering Employment law issues as a result of the mandate, including on:

  • what information needs to be requested from employees, and how employers should go about making such a request;
  • what exemptions may apply;
  • how to manage employees who refuse to provide the necessary information about their vaccination status, or refuse to be vaccinated, including whether you can or should rely on “lawful and reasonable directions” as a basis for taking disciplinary action;
  • Occupational Health and Safety considerations; and
  • risk management and related disputes.

privacy law considerations at play

In addition to employment law implications, the mandate may also have an impact on Privacy law issues regarding operator obligations and record keeping. Businesses should be aware of the privacy requirements for collecting, using, and disclosing vaccination status information about employees, contractors, customers/clients, and other workplace visitors. This is particularly important given the special protections afforded to such sensitive health information under our privacy laws.

contact us

For advice on the above obligations and assistance with drafting suitable workplace communications, please contact Macpherson Kelley’s Employment Safety and Migration or Commercial teams.