Employer Vaccination Guide
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has published an Employer Guide on COVID-19 Vaccinations and the Workplace, which aims to assist employers to navigate the vaccine rollout in Australia.
The comprehensive document strongly encourages employers to support their employees to get vaccinated as soon as possible, and provides a summary of five things employers can do right now.
1. Communicate, encourage and support employees to get vaccinated.
Part One of the guide offers tips and resources on communicating with employees about vaccination, including key messages, ideas for email communication and social media, and links to relevant government videos.
2. Assist your employees to get vaccinated.
Part Two offers guidance and different options to help staff to get vaccinated, including offering unpaid leave, annual leave or paid leave. The Guide warns that contributing to the public health efforts in this way is not without risk, and includes a Vaccination Liabilities section to cover various scenarios.
3. Have sensible conversations with your workforce
Part Three tackles Employment and Work Health and Safety Law Vaccine Workplace Considerations, with step by step advice on ‘Implementing a COVID-19 Vaccination Workplace Policy’, a comprehensive Q&A on general workplace vaccination issues, a checklist on Mandating Vaccinations, and advice around Workplace Disputes over Vaccination with a number of potential scenarios.
4. Keep accurate and up-to-date records
Part Four covers Vaccines and Privacy Law. In general, it is permissible for employers to ask their staff if they have been vaccinated. If employees disclose this information, employers must accord with Australian privacy law when dealing with the collection, use and disclosure of this information. This section explores this topic in detail with practical tips for employers on Privacy Best Practice.
5. Continue to take preventative measures to ensure the health and safety of everyone in the workplace
Part Five details Work Health and Safety obligations and steps employers can take to reduce the risks in the workplace. The key takeaway given is that employers have a duty under WHS laws to eliminate, or if that’s not reasonably practicable, to minimise the risk of exposure of COVID-19 in their workplace.
The Employer Guide on Vaccinations and the Workplace is available for download on the ACCI website.