The in principle plan to reopen Australia announced last week has now been approved by National Cabinet, with further modelling to be done by the Doherty Institute around different scenarios, including the impact of international travel once borders reopen.

The vaccine roll-out has picked up significant pace over the last week, however it was made clear today that there will be no special laws implemented to allow employers to mandate vaccinations or to bar unvaccinated people from premises.

Employers may make a “reasonable directive” for staff to get vaccinated

It will be up to employers to require workers to be vaccinated. However, the Solicitor-General cautioned employers to consider how these decisions relate to discrimination laws and unreasonableness of any direction made to an employee.

The likely scenarios where employers can require their workers to be vaccinated include when they work in high risk fields where they are likely to come in contact with the virus and become infected – this includes aged care, retail and airlines. The key to this decision will be how reasonable the request is.

Very timely, earlier today we released a document outlining the questions to ask your business regarding vaccinations and workforce management – including when you can ask someone to be vaccinated, data privacy, dealing with vulnerable and at-risk people in your organisations, and rapid-testing. You can read the document here.

Rapid antigen testing

We know other parts of the world are already investing in rapid antigen testing, which was also discussed in National Cabinet today. At present, the rapid testing is used in essential workplaces, however it is likely to become standard towards the later stages of the vaccination roll-out program.

Victoria declared a COVID hot spot

This means that individuals will be eligible for Disaster Payments in around seven days – it’s important to note that if you have received this payment in the past that you will still need to reapply.

As always, we are here to support you as you navigate these uncertain times. Please reach out to learn more about the support available if you or your business has been impacted by COVID.

Subscribe to receive our publications

Subscribe now to be kept up-to-date with timely and relevant insights, unique to the nature of your business, your areas of interest and the industry in which you operate.