This week marks New South Wales’s fifth week of lockdown; people are now talking about being social inmates!
The most sensitive question surrounding the lockdown is:
> Can you or should you require your team to be vaccinated before coming back to the office or
> Can staff be withheld from dealing with customers if not vaccinated?
The answer lies in the work health and safety act 2011, which states its basic principles. Section 5 of the act says that every business must provide a safe workplace for the worker. A workplace includes your office, open homes, inspections, and your home office! Section 17 says that an employee includes both your employees and subcontractors; this means anyone you may pay indirectly or directly related to your business. You can’t escape from that level of it.
You’re also required, as we have your standard common-law duty of care to take all steps or reasonable steps to protect your team from problems you can foresee. This leaves you in a very tight situation if it’s foreseeable that a person who works for you, one of their relatives, can get sick and end up in the hospital from you not taking specific steps, you may be held liable as an office if you do not require vaccination.
I suspect that workplaces that are not Covid safe could be vulnerable to actions held against the employer under the work health and safety act.
This can carry two things, you can be sued, or more importantly, get fined up to million dollars.
Once the lockdown is lifted and workplaces begin their slow transition back to the office, we suspect that vaccination requirements will be enforced. Here are three potential options for your staff.
1. Full vaccination
2. One jab and a Covid test every three weeks
3. No Vaccination will need a test every three days
If a staff member wants to carry out functions at home, you can leave them without being vaccinated.
You are going to have to clear look at compelling vaccination. I think the laws are pretty clear on it. If you don’t follow those laws, you are going to be liable.