Can Employers require anti-COVID vaccinations?

Edge Legal

25 February 2022

Good Morning

Unfortunately, the answer to this is not what most employers had hoped for and is still a little unclear.At this point in time the answer is “No. . .unless there is a public health order (issued in your State) that introduces a “No jab-No work” order.”

Whilst there had been a lot of early commentary ‘signalling and anticipating’ there would be the power for employers to issue a “reasonable and lawful direction” to require their employees vaccinate for COVID, recent statements from the IR Minister (backed by FWO and SWA) over the weekend have indicated that the Government really wants the rollout to be fully ‘voluntary’.

That has meant the Government, for now, has backed away from enabling employers the power to require the COVID vaccine as part of the inherent requirements of the job and is likely to create a ‘very persuasive’ position for FWC to consider in some upcoming decisions dealing with this very issue.

So, the advice for now is:

  1. Watch out for any statements from your state public health official on an industry by industry basis

  2. Where there are an identified WHS risk manage it through the usual alternative accommodations

This won’t be the end of this matter.

JARS

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