top of page
Search
  • anne1837

COVID - 19 Restrictions and Mandating Vaccines | Christmas Party Investigations


MERRY CHRISTMAS

That’s a wrap for 2021. After an interesting and challenging year, all of us at Streamline HR hope you enjoy a well-deserved break. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. We look forward to talking to you and working with you in 2022.


 

WHAT THE NEW COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS MEAN FOR YOU

As another year ends and a new year looms, the major talking point for business is still COVID-19. Despite hopes we could enter 2022 with fresh optimism rather than a fresh variant – Omicron – it seems the pandemic will continue to impact strategy and procedure. The message here in Queensland is that businesses must remain vigilant about all rules and requirements, the most immediate being impending restrictions for unvaccinated people.

While the situation may change, at the time of writing the next big date for Queensland is 17 December 2021. This is when unvaccinated people will be unable to attend businesses and venues identified by the Government as non-essential leisure activities or at risk of contributing to an outbreak. These locations include hospitals, aged care facilities, hospitality and outdoor entertainment venues, festivals and government-owned museums and libraries. For a full list of the upcoming restrictions, click here

I am an affected business - what does this mean?

It means that from 17 December, employees and patrons must be fully vaccinated to work in or visit any venue in which the new restrictions apply. If you are an affected business, we recommend you prepare by taking steps such as:

  • Displaying vaccination rules and requirements

  • Ensuring that employees, customers and clients are checking in and showing proof of vaccination

  • Preparing a COVID-19 vaccination policy and procedure (including reference to vaccination requirements, evidence collection, medical exemptions, and the impact on employees should they not provide these)

  • Identifying employees who will be affected by this policy and procedure, and beginning a process of consultation

  • Following social distancing and good hygiene practices

  • Directing employees to obtain medical clearance to return to work if they display cold and flu symptoms

What if I am not an affected business?

If your business is classified as an essential service and you are not required to restrict unvaccinated people, you still have a duty of care for the health and safety of your employees. We recommend taking the same steps as outlined for affected businesses


Can I direct my employees to be vaccinated ?

The short answer is … maybe. The longer answer is that it depends on whether you are in an affected industry and whether a current government mandate (e.g., health care workers) makes the direction lawful and reasonable. You should also consider the amount of contact your employees have with others (co-workers, suppliers, clients, customers, the public etc.)


When it comes to vaccination rights and obligations, we recommend the Fair Work Ombudsman. As well as latest advice, scroll down to find the new 4-Tier Workplace System that provides extra clarity for your business operation. Here's how it works:

Tier 1: Where employees are required as part of their duties to interact with people with an increased risk of being infected with coronavirus (e.g., hotel quarantine, border control)

Tier 2: Where employees are required to have close contact with people who are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of coronavirus (e.g., health care, aged care)

Tier 3: Where there is interaction or likely interaction between employees and others such as customers, fellow employees or the public in the normal course of employment (e.g., stores providing essential goods and services)

Tier 4: Where employees have minimal face-to-face interaction as part of their normal employment duties (e.g., working from home)

Importantly, before considering a vaccination mandate, ensure that you can legally and reasonably do so. Also consider whether a mandate affects an employee’s ability to perform the inherent requirements of their role.

If you would like further assistance or advice, our consultants are here for yo

 

MANAGING THE CHRISTMAS PARTY AFTERMATH

Last month we shared some tips on managing conduct at your Christmas party. Still, it's not called the silly season for nothing, right? As an employer, putting off an incident or complaint until after the Christmas break is unwise. Far better to act promptly and not leave it hanging around until the new year.


The following tips should help:

  • If a serious allegation is raised, launch a formal investigation ASAP

  • Acknowledge receipt of the complaint and have an initial conversation with the complainant about the reasons behind it

  • If there is a respondent, meet with them and ensure they have an opportunity to respond to an allegation

  • Where required, meet with other parties and witnesses

  • Ascertain what is fact and what is conjecture, so be well prepared

  • Always follow procedural fairness, including confidentiality, impartiality and availability of support personnel

  • If any parties are on leave, instigate the process and provide updates on a timeline

We hope your Christmas parties are incident-free. However, if an issue does arise, please reach out to us.



Please contact us if you need help or advice regarding any of these topics or laws, policy reviews or workplace training.

15 views0 comments

Comments


bottom of page