Written by: Natalie Knight and Cameron Bunney
UPDATES ON MANDATORY COVID-19 VACCINATIONS FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIAN EMPLOYEES
The WA State Government has recently advised that a “mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy for a majority of occupations and workforces in WA will be introduced in a phased approach.” The phased approach will target two large groups, with their first and second doses of the vaccine required by certain dates.
Group 1 involves industries and occupations who are deemed to have a high transmission risk, vulnerability risk, or are necessary or critical to their community’s safety. This group includes but is not limited to: Border control and air transport; Staff working in remote Aboriginal communities; Residential and non-residential community care services; Corrective services; and Abattoirs.
People employed in roles that are covered by Group 1 will be required to have
- the first dose of their approved COVID-19 Vaccination by 1 December 2021; and
- the second dose by 31 December 2021.
The second group of industries and occupations that will require vaccinations is a much broader group, deemed to be critical to the ongoing delivery of critical community services. This group includes but is not limited to: Supermarkets and bakeries; Eateries; Post offices; Hardware stores; Child care or family day care providers; Schools and boarding schools; Financial Institutions; Critical infrastructure and services for the health, safety or welfare of the community; Petrol stations; Public transport; Commercial transport including taxis and rideshares; Hotels or other accommodation facilities; Funerary services; and construction or maintenance services.
People employed in roles that are covered by Group 2 will be required to have:
- the first dose of their approved COVID-19 Vaccination by 31 December 2021; and
- the second dose by 31 January 2022.
IN THE EVENT OF LOCKDOWN
Finally, the WA State Government has provided a list of industries and occupations which will require employees to be fully vaccinated to attend work during lockdowns. These roles include but are not limited to: Click and collect retail; Bottle shops; Newsagents; Pet stores; Conveyancing settlement agents (time critical legal matters); Government services (where working from home not possible); Vehicle and mechanical repair services; Journalist and media services; Administrative services provided by an employer to enable its employees to work from home; Primary industries; and, Factories, manufacturing, production, distribution, etc.
PENALTIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE
Employers will be required to keep records of employees’ vaccination certificates and ensure that any unvaccinated employees are not permitted to work. It will be considered an offence to fail, without reasonable excuse, to comply with government directions.
Employees and employers will both be required to comply with the mandatory vaccination orders, with:
- individuals being punishable by fines of up to $20,000.00; and
- bodies corporate up to $100,000.00.
For further information please refer to the WA Department of Health and the materials on their website surrounding mandatory vaccinations, in particular their Frequently Asked Questions: https://ww2.health.wa.gov.au/~/media/Corp/Documents/Health-for/Infectious-disease/COVID19/Vaccination/COVID19-Mandatory-vaccination-FAQs.pdf.