Members have been seeking advice regarding their obligations to comply with the various Public Health Orders in Victoria, NSW, and Qld which relate to the need for workers in many industries to be vaccinated in order to retain their employment. In short, the position in the various states is as follows:
Employees of Bakeries, Cafes and Restaurants and Food Manufacturing Employers must demonstrate they are fully vaccinated, or have a medical exemption from midnight 18 November in order to continue working in those businesses. Employees who are not able to meet these requirements are not permitted to attend the workplace. It is the responsibility of the Employer to see the evidence of the Employee’s vaccination or exemption status before they permit their employees to continue working.
New South Wales
There are no vaccine mandates for Retail, Manufacturing, or Hospitality venues or employers in NSW. Therefore the decision on whether to require vaccination for your workers remains with the Employer and their Work Health and Safety obligations.
From 17 December 2021 employees in Cafes and Restaurants (including Bakery Cafe’s where seating is provided) must be fully vaccinated in order to attend work as must customers of these businesses. It is the Employer’s obligation to get evidence from their Employees that they have been fully vaccinated.
Employees and customers in retail Bakeries are exempt from the requirement to be vaccinated as this falls within the definition of “essential retail”.
If your employees refuse to be vaccinated as required by the mandate, you must not permit them entry to the premises. If you are able to provide work from home for these employees then you must continue to employ them. However, if work from home is not available then you must advise your employees that failure to be vaccinated will result in the termination of their employment.
If you determine that an employee is not compliant with a requirement to be vaccinated you must give them an opportunity to either get the vaccination or obtain evidence that they are exempt from the vaccination mandate. Please note that the only evidence that you can accept is a “Contraindication Certificate” issued by a Medical Practitioner in Immunology and not just their GP or another form of “health practitioner”.
If your employee is just a bit slow in getting their vaccination they may be offered paid annual leave (if they have any accrued) but there is no entitlement to unpaid leave, or access to accrued Personal/Carer’s Leave while they arrange their vaccinations. The decision as to whether to offer such additional leave is entirely at the discretion of the employer.