Employers in Greater Sydney have been given more time to comply with the Government’s mandatory vaccination requirements for employees living or residing in the 12 local government areas of concern who leave their LGAs for work.
As of today, the mandatory vaccination deadline for authorised workers from the 12 Sydney LGAs of concern has been pushed back in a two-stage process.
From Monday, 20 September 2021, authorised workers must not leave their LGA for work unless they have:
- Had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine; or
- Evidence of a medical exemption (obtained from a medical practitioner in the form approved by the NSW Chief Health Officer).
Whilst this deadline has been extended by a fortnight (as it was originally intended to commence today, 6 September 2021), it comes with an additional requirement: that from Thursday, 9 September 2021, authorised workers must not leave their LGA for work unless they meet one of the above requirements OR they have booked their vaccination appointment for a date on or prior to 19 September 2021. If the latter, the worker must have evidence of the appointment and present such proof if requested by their employer, occupier of their place of work, or the relevant authorities.
The responsibility of receiving or booking a vaccination, or alternatively acquiring a medical exemption from doing so, rests with the employee. However, employers can ask impacted staff to provide the relevant evidence to assess whether the employee can continue to work on and after 9 and/or 20 September 2021. Where an employee is unable to meet these requirements, employers should first consider whether alternative work arrangements are available, such as relocation to a workplace within their own LGA. If alternate arrangements are not available, employees will be unable to attend work until they meet one of the requirements or restrictions are eased.
Caution should be taken when collecting and storing health information of employees, and we would generally advise against requesting the vaccination status of employees unaffected by these restrictions, other than in exceptional circumstances or where another public health order permits it, as it may not meet employer obligations for the collection of sensitive information under the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
Please note that the Government restrictions are frequently changing, and as such, this article is for notification purposes only and should not be relied on. Employers should check the latest restrictions here.
For more information on managing COVID-19 restrictions in your workplace and on your workforce, contact the team at HR Assured.
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Robby Magyar is a Workplace Relations Consultant at HR Assured, who has been assisting clients across Australia from a range of industries and businesses with their work-related COVID-19 questions.