COVID-19: Managing Mandatory Vaccinations

On 10 September 2021, the NSW Government has updated its NSW Public Health their NSW Public Health (COVID-19 Additional Restrictions for Delta Outbreak) Order (No 2) 2021. In accordance to Clause 4.3 and Clause 4.24 of this new NSW Public Health Order, certain Authorised Workers and/or Relevant Care Workers are required by Monday, 9 September 2021, to:


These certain Authorised Workers who are also Relevant Care Workers (eg educators/teachers in long daycare services (see Clause 4.24(1) of the new NSW Public Health Order) are those:


  1. who are from the Areas of Concern; OR

  2. who are entering into the Areas of Concern: OR

  3. whose place of work is in the list of local government areas categorised as Areas of Concern.

Whereas, the requirement for vaccination or exemption applies to Authorised Workers who are not Relevant Care Workers only applies to those who are from the Areas of Concern.


AREAS OF CONCERN


  • the Blacktown local government area

  • the Campbelltown local government area

  • the Canterbury-Bankstown local government area

  • the Cumberland local government area

  • the Fairfield local government area

  • the Georges River local government area

  • the Liverpool local government area

  • the Parramatta local government area

  • the Bayside local government area

  • the Burwood local government area

  • the Strathfield local government area

  • the Penrith local government area suburbs of Caddens, Claremont Meadows, Colyton, Erskine Park, Kingswood, Mount Vernon, North St Marys, Orchard Hills, Oxley Park, St Clair or St Marys.

S/he must carry evidence of his/her name and place of residence and produce it for inspection to their employer, or police officer, or occupier of the place of work, or an authorised officer.


PLEASE NOTE: As Authorised Workers are also defined as workers employed or engaged to provide services that are necessary for early childhood education and care, this means the above will also apply to contractors, cleaners, administration and support staff as well.


Prioritised Vaccinations for Educators/Teachers


As early childhood education and care educators and teachers, these Authorised Workers can book their COVID-19 vaccination via the NSW Department of Education's Priority for childcare and disability workers in LGAs of concern or the NSW Government’s Authorised Worker Priority Appointments.


Alternative #1 – Rapid Antigen Testing Program


No longer available.



Alternative #2 – Temporary Exemption


Some affected Authorised Workers may be eligible to be exempted on medical grounds. If so, their General Practitioner will need to complete the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Contraindication form.


Once completed, it is recommended that employers and such Authorised Workers carry a copy of the completed COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Contraindication form should it be required for presentation.


For Escalation


There may be instances of when relevant Authorised Workers:


  • are unable to receive the vaccination by Monday, 19 September 2021; or

  • cannot receive the vaccination for other legitimate reasons.

All Approved Providers, educators, teachers, contractors, cleaners, administration and support staff who may be negatively affected by this new vaccination requirement are therefore encourged to contact their NSW Member of Parliament and also confidentially register their situation via the form below.

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Q&As


Q1: What if I cannot get an appointment for vaccination before 19 September 2021?

A1: Please ensure that you have exhausted the NSW Department of Education's priority process for educators/teachers and all 12 possible vaccination hubs via the NSW Government’s Authorised Worker Priority Appointments process. If you are still unable to get an appointment for vaccination, please screenshot images of evidence of this, and register them via the survey form above. ACA NSW will ask the NSW Department of Education and/or the NSW Health to assist you. It is also ACA NSW's intention to seek an extension of this deadline should availability of vaccines be a reality for some.


Q2: For those staff who are refusing to vaccinate, what can I do?

A2: These staff may be eligible for an exemption via their GPs (see Alternative #2 above). If not, for casual staff, you can amend your roster accordingly so as to comply with the new NSW Public Health Order. For permanent full-time or part-time staff, the employee cannot return back to work and the Stand down provision will apply due to the employee not following the government direction which makes the employee no longer meet the requirements of their employment. The employer will advise the employee a duration period of the standown provision (determined by the business' discretion) so as to fulfil the NSW Government's NSW Public Health Order and to return to work and if not meet, the employer will discuss with the employee on what their current decision is. The employer can then consider to terminate employment due to the employee not meeting employment requirements, first seeking legal advice prior to terminating. (Please also refer to the Fair Work Commission's webpage.)


Q3: If the employee does not comply with the NSW Public Health Order, will s/he be eligible for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment?

A3: No, as their work has not been affected but from their own discretion of not receiving the first dose of a COVID-19. If the employee still applies for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment and receives payments, this has nothing to do with the employer as it is the employee's decision and if audited the government(s) may retrieve the payments received.


Q4: Are there penalties on employers for not checking their staff's vaccination status?

A4: There no penalties on employers as listed in the NSW Public Health Order for not checking their staff's vaccination status. That said, any  or occupier of the place of work can ask to see the person's vaccination status.


Q5: Where will the evidence/status of the first dose of vaccination be available from for inspection?

A5: It will be from the person's MyGov's Immunisation History Statement or a COVID-19 digital certificate from the Australian Immunisation Register.


Q6: If a person needs to receive the Pfizer vaccination for legitimate reasons but is over the age of 39 years old and therefore not eligible for prioritised vaccination, how can s/he comply with the NSW Public Health Order by 19 September 2021?

A6: The person's General Practitioner could utilise the NSW Government’s COVID-19 Vaccine Medical Contraindication form and provide a temporary exemption until s/he can receive the Pfizer vaccination. Otherwise, please also register their concern via the survey form above.


Q7: What are the penalties for not complying with the NSW Public Health Order(s)?

A7: Please note that fines and penalties for breaching NSW Public Health Orders are in the order of $1,000 to $55,000 for individuals and/or businesses/legal entities, and may also include imprisonment for up to 6 months.


Contacts


Should you require any further information or clarification, please contact:


And for all COVID related information for the early childhood education and care sector, please visit ACA NSW's COVIDwatch.


PUBLISHED: 24 AUGUST 2021
UPDATED: 15 SEPTEMBER 2021

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