We answer key questions about your workplace rights when it comes to the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Federal Government’s policy is that COVID-19 vaccinations should be free and voluntary for most Australians, and it does not intend on passing any laws that require vaccinations to be mandatory. It has recommended through National Cabinet that State and Territory governments mandate vaccinations for certain workers.
State and Territory Governments have issued public health orders requiring the vaccination of some workers in high risk workplaces.
Not all public health orders will be the same in each State and Territory, and may change from time to time. It is important to review the public health orders that apply to each State and Territory.
To access the current public health orders in your State and Territory, please visit your relevant government health website.
In the absence of Government mandates whether an employer can direct an employee to get vaccinated will depend on whether the direction is a “lawful and reasonable direction”. Determining if an employer direction is lawful and reasonable is highly fact dependant.
The FWO has provided advice on a range of factors employers should consider in determining whether a direction mandating the vaccination is lawful and reasonable.
To review the FWO’s guidance, please visit the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website.
It’s important to remember that the FWO’s guidance is not law.
Determining whether a direction is lawful and reasonable is assessed on a case to case basis.
The FWO has highlighted that some considerations in assessing whether an employer direction is lawful include:
Some considerations in assessing whether an employer direction is reasonable include:
Employees concerned about any employer directions on vaccines should get advice from their union or an employment lawyer. Similarly, employers should seek their own advice if they are considering making vaccinations mandatory in the workplace.
While the laws in each State and Territory differ slightly, the answer to this is probably yes.
Our specialist employment lawyers can provide advice and representation on a wide range of workplace legal issues, including investigations, negotiating the terms of employment contracts and recovering bonus payments. For an initial consultation fee of $690 (incl GST) find out where you stand.
Our Canberra office is now closed, but our team continues to serve ACT clients and are available for phone and video appointments. If you need legal advice, please call us on 1800 675 346.
We have lawyers who specialise in a range of legal claims who travel to Tasmania. If you need a lawyer in Hobart, Launceston or elsewhere in Tasmania, please call us on 1800 675 346.