Disability Support Workers

Last Updated: 09 Nov 2021 11:36am

On this page

Requirement to be vaccinated

From 21 November 2021, there is a requirement for certain disability support workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The Vaccination requirements for certain workers Public Health Direction applies to persons who are engaged or employed to provide high intensity supports to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants.

For more information about vaccination, including how to book an appointment, go to COVID-19 Vaccination.

Workers who provide high intensity supports

The Public Health Direction requires that on and after 21 November 2021, a person who is employed or engaged to provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant is not permitted to provide these supports unless they are sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19.

The following types of support are high intensity supports:

  • Assistance with daily life tasks in a group or shared living arrangement: A workerprovides assistance with tasks of daily life in a shared living environment. For example, supporting NDIS participants who live in Supported Independent Living (SIL), or group homes.
  • Group and centre-based activities: A worker assists NDIS participants to access community, social and recreational activities provided in a group setting, either in the community or in a centre. For example, centre-based community access.
  • Specialist supported employment: A worker assists participants who have high support needs to maintain work in a social enterprise, sometimes referred to as Australian Disability Enterprises (ADEs).
  • Daily personal activities: A worker assists with personal tasks of daily life to enable an NDIS participant to live as independently as possible. These supports are provided individually to participants and can be provided in a range of environments, including the participant’s own home. For example, providing personal care.
  • Community nursing care: Provide nursing care to respond to the disability-related health needs of an NDIS participant where that care is not the usual responsibility of the health system.
  • Therapeutic supports: A worker assists an NDIS participant to improve independence and enable participation in daily, practical activities such as language and communication, mobility and movement, personal care, interpersonal interactions and community living. For example, occupational therapy, speech pathology, dietetics, psychology, etc.

While the supports described above as high intensity align with NDIS Registration Groups, the requirement to vaccinate applies to the type of support provided not that the support is provided under those registration groups specifically. The Direction applies to both NDIS registered and unregistered providers.

If you provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant as part of your duties, even if it is not every shift or with every employer, you are required to be vaccinated.

If you provide high intensity support incidental to your main employment (for example, you are a bus driver who ocassionally helps a passenger with mobility or communication) you are not required to be vaccinated under this Direction.

If you are employed or engaged to provide support to NDIS participants and are not sure if your employment is included in the definition of high intensity supports, contact your employer.

Evidence of vaccination

Disability support workers who are required to be vaccinated must provide one or more of the following to their employer by 21 November 2021:

  • If second dose received (fully vaccinated), evidence of their Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register, operated by or on behalf of the Commonwealth Government OR digital evidence of their COVID-19 digital certificate
  • If first dose received, evidence of their Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register, and evidence of second dose appointment
  • If not yet vaccinated, evidence of their booking for a vaccination
  • If they are not able to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication, a copy of their vaccination medical exemption. An employee may have a valid medical exemption recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register OR a vaccination exemption form completed by their GP or specialist.

There is a step-by-step guide to get proof of your COVID-19 vaccinations online.

A worker who does not meet these requirements for vaccination is not permitted to provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant from 21 November 2021. This may mean an employee will have to perform a different role or can no longer perform their role, potentially putting their employment at risk.

Anyone who chooses not to get vaccinated and requires further information should seek advice from their employer.

Providers

The Direction applies to both NDIS registered and unregistered providers.

Employers of workers providing high intensity support to NDIS participants should, as soon as is practicable, notify all staff that they are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Workers are required to provide evidence of their vaccination status, or a vaccination medical exemption, by 21 November 2021.

From 21 November 2021, employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure a worker does not provide high intensity supports to NDIS participants if they are not sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19.

This means on and after 21 November 2021, an employer must ensure that a worker, as part of their employment or engagement, does not provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant if the relevant supervisor is not satisfied that the worker:

  • is sufficiently vaccinated against the disease
  • has a medical exemption.

The employer must maintain one or more of the following for each worker providing high intensity support to NDIS participants, as evidence of workers being sufficiently vaccinated:

  • If second dose received (fully vaccinated), a copy or evidence of the employee's Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register OR digital evidence of their COVID-19 digital certificate
  • If first dose received, a copy or evidence of their Immunisation History Statement from the Australian Immunisation Register, and evidence of second dose appointment
  • If not yet vaccinated, evidence of their booking for a vaccination
  • If they are not able to be vaccinated due to a medical contraindication, a copy of their vaccination medical exemption. An employee may have a valid medical exemption recorded in the Australian Immunisation Register OR a vaccination exemption form completed by their GP or specialist.

For more information, go to Employer Information.

People with disability

If you receive high intensity supports through a provider, you do not need to do anything. Your provider will ensure that their workers are sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19.

It is the responsibility of providers to ensure workers are sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19, including if they are a sole provider.

For specific queries about the requirement for your support workers to be vaccinated, please talk with your service provider.

If you self-manage your plan and directly employ your own staff to provide high intensity support, it is your responsibility to ensure these workers are notified that they are required to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Staff are required to provide evidence of their vaccination status, or a vaccination medical exemption, by 21 November 2021. For more information, refer to Providers.

For answers to common queries about vaccination requirements, go to frequently asked questions and resources.

Frequently asked questions



The Tasmanian Government knows people who work in the disability sector are committed to doing their best to protect themselves, the people they support, and their communities from COVID-19.

Vaccination against COVID-19 is our best protection against COVID-19 and most Tasmanian disability support workers are already fully vaccinated.

NDIS participants who receive high intensity supports are a group of people identified by the Australian Health Protection Prinicipal Committee (AHPPC) as particularly vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19, and so are the focus of the Tasmanian Public Health Direction related to disability workers. Some people with specific medical conditions may be exempt. Talk with your GP or Specialist if you need to discuss a medical exemption. Your GP or Specialist will need to complete the vaccination exemption form.

You can find out where you can get vaccinated or book an appointment by visiting Book your vaccination.

Vaccinations are available from:

  • Tasmanian Government Community Clinics
  • participating GP clinics
  • participating community pharmacies
  • GP-led respiratory clinics
  • Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services

If you have not yet received your first dose of COVID-19 vaccine, you will need to provide evidence of your booking to your employer by 21 November 2021.

When you receive your first dose and are booked for your second dose, you can get an immunisation history statement to provide evidence of your vaccination to your employer.

Once both doses have been received, and your vaccination certificate has been issued, you must provide it to your employer as soon as possible.

Transmission of COVID-19 to NDIS participants receiving high intensity supports has the potential to cause serious illness and death. Some people with disability, including those with auto-immune complexities, are particularly vulnerable if infected with COVID-19.

An employee who does not meet the vaccination requirement is not permitted to provide high intensity supports to an NDIS participant from 21 November 2021. This may mean an employee will have to perform a different role or can no longer perform their role, potentially putting their employment at risk.

Anyone who chooses not to get vaccinated and requires further information should seek advice from their employer.