Mandatory vaccination in high-risk settings
In line with recommendations from the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) and National Cabinet, the Tasmanian Government has introduced mandatory vaccination for workers in a number of high-risk settings.
The requirement for vaccination against COVID-19 includes:
- people who work in aged care facilities including direct workforce and volunteers providing services on a regular basis, to be vaccinated by 17 September 2021.
- people who work in quarantine facilities and those who provide transport services to travellers during their quarantine period, to be vaccinated by 17 September 2021
- people who work in medical and health care settings, and those who provide health and medical services and treatments, and all Department of Health employees and contractors, to be vaccinated by 31 October 2021.
- people who work as disability support workers to provide high intensity support to National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) participants, to be vaccinated by 21 November 2021.
- People who work in early childhood services, to be vaccinated by 8 January 2022 (first dose) and 5 February 2022 (all doses).
Some people may be exempt due to a medical contraindication to the COVID-19 vaccine. A Vaccination Medical exemption form is available that requires a medical practitioner to complete.
Mandatory vaccination employer requirements
Employers should, as soon as is practicable, notify all staff 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 the effective date.
From the effective date, employers must take all reasonable steps to ensure an employee does not enter, or remain the premises of a health care setting, if they are not sufficiently vaccinated against COVID-19.
The employer must maintain one or more of the following for each person:
- 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.
Choosing to mandate vaccination for employees
An employer or organisation should get legal advice if considering requiring employees to be vaccinated. There are many workplace relations, discrimination and privacy issues to consider.
An employer or organisation can only require that employees provide evidence of their vaccination status in particular circumstances. If the employer or organisation intends to collect vaccination status into a record of employees and members, they must be satisfied that this collection is permitted under Australian Privacy Principle (APP) 3.
This advice also applies to a sport and recreation organisations considering requiring players and visitors/supporters to be vaccinated as a condition of participating in sport.
Choosing to mandate vaccination for customers
If businesses or organisations want customers and visitors to be vaccinated as a condition of entry to their premises or a condition of receiving services, they should seek advice before taking any action, as privacy and discrimination conditions may apply.
- The workplace rights of employees and volunteers under the Fair Work Act: COVID-19 vaccinations: workplace rights & obligations - Fair Work Ombudsman
- Your Work, Health and Safety (WHS) responsibilities: Vaccination | Safe Work Australia
- Whether requiring vaccination may be considered unlawful discrimination in your circumstance: COVID-19 vaccinations and federal discrimination law | Australian Human Rights Commission
- Privacy and information security: COVID-19: Vaccinations and my privacy rights as an employee (oaic.gov.au)
Proof of vaccination status
If you require proof of vaccination, Services Australia provides information on how individuals can access their proof. Any of these methods should be accepted as evidence.
If a business or organisation chooses to mandate vaccination, and there is a requirement for people to provide evidence of their medical exemption, they can ask their doctor to update their record on the Australian Immunisation Register (AIR) to say that they have a medical contraindication. They can then use their statement or certificate as proof of their vaccination exemption if required. More information is available from Services Australia.
Read more about providing proof of vaccination status.