The Traffic Lights and workplace vaccination requirements
Health, Employment Law, COVID-19, Health and Safety / 03 December 2021
The COVID-19 Protection framework “traffic lights” come with new mandates and considerations for workplace vaccination.
Key takeaways for employers include:
- There are new requirements for COVID-19 vaccination certificates (CVCs), capacity limits and for gatherings and events at each traffic light.
- Regulated businesses and services (RBS) must choose between operating either with or without CVCs. There will be different restrictions based on this.
- RBS include hospitality, close-contact businesses and gyms. A close contact business or service is one which carries out activities with close proximity or physical contact between people or where a worker is closer than 1m to their client. There are some limited exclusions.
- Even if a RBS is not operating under CVC rules, it will be mandatory for employees working in those businesses to be vaccinated – there is no opting out.
- Employees in RBS must have had their first dose of an approved vaccine by 2 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 17 January 2021, and cannot work in the workplace otherwise.
- Employees must be given reasonable paid time off during work to be vaccinated as long as this will not unreasonably disrupt the business or their duties.
- Employers may terminate employment where an employee does not comply with mandatory vaccination or testing, or vaccination requirements decided by the employer through a risk assessment of their role. The employer must consult, provide time for the employee to get vaccinated and ensure that all other alternatives to dismissal have been exhausted.
- If termination follows, the employer must provide four weeks paid notice or the notice under the employment agreement, if this is longer.
Message for Employers
The traffic lights bring in more change, in a short time frame, but workplace law obligations continue to apply and must be met.
Our team can advise on your workplace law obligations, including by support with:
- consulting staff affected by the extended vaccination mandate
- advice on your workplace vaccination approach
- providing a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and necessary risk assessments
- providing a COVID-19 Vaccination Policy and risk assessment advice for $1,000 (plus GST).
Disclaimer: We remind you that while this article provides commentary on employment law, health and safety and immigration topics, it should not be used as a substitute for legal or professional advice for specific situations. Please seek legal advice from your lawyer for any questions specific to your workplace.