The mandating or encouragement of vaccinations in the workplace is a hot topic at the moment with the regulations steadily increasing across various industries for workers and visitors alike to be vaccinated.

The regulations so far include:

  • Vaccination requirements for workers in a health care setting (direction to be fully vaccinated by 15th December 2021)
  • The QLD restrictions on hospitality venues, indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, festivals and govt owned galleries, museums or libraries to only admit vaccinated people (coming into effect on 17th December 2021)
  • Vaccination requirements for workers in high risk settings including education settings, correctional and detention facilities and airports (taking effect from 23 January 2022)

In this environment, it is important for businesses to think carefully about whether they need a COVID vaccination policy and if so, what it should look like. A business’s ability to mandate vaccination is dependent on whether:

  1. a specific law requires you to be vaccinated (such as a State or Territory public health order for a particular industry);
  2. an enterprise agreement, award or employment contract provides that it is permitted; and/or
  3. any such direction from an employer is lawful and reasonable.

Where there is no specific legislation requiring vaccination (at the moment, if your business is not covered by one of the above areas, there is unlikely to be a legislated requirement), the reasonableness of a mandated vaccination direction needs to be carefully assessed by the business depending on their circumstances.  We recommend that businesses considering mandating vaccination undertake a risk assessment and consider a range of factors including:

  • What are the risks of infection based on your operation?
  • How else might you mitigate that risk?
  • What would happen to your business if a proportion of the workforce became ill or was forced to quarantine or self-isolate?
  • How much public contact do your employees have in the course of their duties?
  • Would a mandated vaccination policy give rise to issues of discrimination?
  • Would it be more effective to provide incentives for voluntary vaccination instead of mandating?

If necessary, we recommend seeking independent legal advice before deciding on mandating vaccinations.

The alternative is encouraging vaccinations and there are various means with which to achieve this.

To ensure our clients use the right process, policy and tools to implement their policies in a fair and reasonable manner, Focus HR has developed two kits based on either ‘encouraging’ or ‘mandating’ vaccination.  Details are below.  If you wish to access a kit for your workplace, please contact us ASAP and a consultant will assist you with this.

The COVID Vaccination Encouragement Policy Kit ($435 plus GST) includes:

  • Covid Vaccination Encouragement Policy
  • Disclosure of Vaccination Status Form
  • Implementation Guidelines

The COVID Vaccination Mandatory Policy Kit ($735 plus GST) includes:

  • Covid Vaccination Mandatory Policy
  • Disclosure of Vaccination Status Form
  • Implementation Guidelines
  • Consultation Script
  • Vaccination Requirement Letter Template
  • Non-Vaccination Cessation Letter Template