10 Nov Queensland’s Plan for 80% Vaccination
Queensland is due to ease restrictions for those fully vaccinated on 17 December 2021 when it is expected that at least 80% of Queenslanders, 16 years and older, will be fully vaccinated, or possibly earlier if the 80% target is reached prior. Restrictions will however be in place for unvaccinated people.
The Queensland Government has published its plan for 80% and beyond, setting out rules for businesses regarding vaccinated and unvaccinated staff and patrons. You can access the plan here: https://www.covid19.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0021/220377/DPC7976-Vaccine-status-plan.pdf.
The plan includes that only fully vaccinated people will be allowed in:
- hospitality venues;
- Queensland government stadiums;
- entertainments venues;
- music festivals;
- government-owned galleries, museums and libraries; and
- vulnerable settings – aged care, hospitals, prisons and disability services (except in the case of end of life, childbirth or emergencies).
The plan will be reviewed when Queensland reaches 90% double dose.
What does this mean for employers?
The new rules mean that some employers will have a basis for requiring vaccination of their employees in Queensland if the plan places requirements on their staff to be vaccinated.
Employers whose staff must be vaccinated in line with the new Government directives, need to start planning for these changes now.
Employers should be starting to consult with staff about the requirements coming into effect and what this means for the business and for them (i.e. if they will need to be vaccinated after 17 December 2021 to be able to work).
Employers should also consider putting in place a policy which sets out the businesses policies and procedures regarding vaccination and any support that can be offered to employees wanting to get vaccinated, such as time off work.
If employees are not going to be vaccinated by this deadline, then employers will need to consider what action they can take. For example, it may be appropriate to stand employees down without pay until they can return to work fully vaccinated. If an employee refuses to be vaccinated altogether then employers will need to consider the employee’s reasons for refusal and what action would be appropriate. We recommend you seek our advice in such circumstances to ensure whatever action taken, e.g. dismissal, is lawful and not discriminatory.
Further, if you require assistance with determining if you can mandate your staff to have the COVID-19 vaccination as a result of the Government’s plan and/or you require assistance with consultation and policy implementation, please get in touch with our team at HR Law.