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Stay safe & stay informed.

Government advice is changing daily.
The best sources of up-to-date information on public health orders, restrictions & health advice are your local state/territory government & health departments. 

 

Information updated: Friday October 15, 2021

View the current restrictions in your state/territory:

To view all current restrictions in your state/territory, check your state/territory government website:

ACTNSW – NT – QLD – SA – TAS – VIC – WA

Book your vaccination appointment:

Find out how to register for your covid-19 vaccine in your state or territory:

ACT  –  NSW  –  NT  –  QLD  –  SA  –  TAS  –  VIC  –  WA

COVID-19 FAQs

Financial and other supports available:

The COVID-19 Disaster Payment is a lump sum payment to help workers unable to earn income due to a COVID-19 state or territory public health order. 

 

Automatic payments for the COVID-19 Disaster Payment will stop when 70% of people 16 years or older in your state or territory are fully vaccinated (have received 2 doses). 

 

When 80% of people 16 years or older in your state or territory are fully vaccinated with 2 doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, your COVID-19 Disaster Payment will reduce over 2 weeks. 

 

You can still receive the payment but in very limited circumstances (e.g. if you are still affected by movement restrictions).

 

You can find more information on the COVID-19 Disaster Payment in your state, including information on whether you are eligible, how much you can receive and how to apply for the payment, here:

The NSW Government has announced a 60-day freeze on evictions for those who are impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. If you are affected, this means you cannot be evicted for the period between 14 July 2021 and 11 November 2021. More information on eligibility and how to apply for this assistance is available here.

 

The Victorian Government has announced that a one-off Rent Relief Grant of up to $1,500 (paid directly to your landlord or real estate agency) is available for Victorians experiencing rental hardship as a result of the pandemic. More information on eligibility and how to apply for this assistance is available here.

Yes, the Commonwealth Government and the NSW Government have come together to provide more funding for a number of services that provide support for mental health.

If you have been affected by the pandemic and the lockdown, and you would like to talk to someone, the following services will be receiving extra funding to support workers during this time:

Your rights at work:

Vaccinations

An employer request to get a vaccine for work may be unreasonable or discriminatory where an employee has a genuine medical condition (which means that they are unable to get a vaccine), however, this will not be the case in all circumstances.

Factors regarding whether the request from their employer is unreasonable may include:

  • Whether there is a legal/legislative requirement for mandatory vaccination in the industry (in which case exemptions may not apply); and
  • Whether another type of vaccine would be safe, but the worker is unable to access due to Government restrictions.

An employee may also be able to establish that they are being discriminated against if reasonable adjustments to accommodate them aren’t made. However, in some cases a “reasonable adjustment” to accommodate someone who is unvaccinated, and so carries a risk that they might themselves be infected (and suffer serious illness), or infect others, might not be available.

The employee will need to be able to prove that they have a specific medical risk associated with the vaccination (a letter from their doctor addressing the risks). In NSW there is a prescribed form: here.

UWU members who are required to get vaccinated for work, who have a specific medical risk associated with the vaccination (that they can prove exists) and whose employer refuses to continue to engage them to work should contact the Union for help on a case by case basis.

Generally speaking, an employer who asks for medical information, such as a person’s vaccination status, should keep that information private and secure. A worker is usually also entitled to be told the reason the information is being sought.


Public health directions may also mandate the disclosure of this information. This is the case in aged care.

Provided an employer explains the purpose for the collection of this information, and how it will be kept confidential, a policy requiring a worker to provide information about their vaccination status is likely to be a reasonable request (taking into account similar considerations as apply when considering whether a mandatory vaccination policy is reasonable).

A worker may qualify for the Commonwealth Government COVID-19 vaccine claims scheme if they suffer injury and loss of income. The Scheme will cover the costs of injuries above $5,000 due to a proven adverse reaction. There is currently limited available information about eligibility, although please check: here.

A worker will be able to register from 6 September 2021: here.

In the case of an adverse reaction to a COVID vaccine, it may be possible a worker to make a workers’ compensation claim. In order for a claim to be accepted, the worker will need to establish the causal connection between the vaccine side effect and employment (the test differs depending on which compensation legislation applies). You should call the Union to discuss your circumstances.

Vaccine mandates are changing daily.

At this stage, it appears that medical exemptions are available.

National vaccine mandates

Aged care: The Commonwealth Government has issued a directive that all residential aged care workers must have received dose 1 by 17 September 2021.

State based mandates

NSW

NSW Authorised workers, see details here: by 9 September 2021 you must have had one dose or have an appointment booked for vaccination on or before 19 September 2021.

NSW Aged Care, see details here: if they are an employee of the facility or they service the facility, must have had dose 1 by 17 September 2021.

Disability and early childhood care workers, see details here: by 19 September 2021 you must have had one dose or have an appointment booked for vaccination on or before 19 September 2021.

NSW Airport and Quarantine Workers, see the full list here: must not enter or provide services unless they have received 2 doses (or have received 1 dose and will get their second dose within 3 months of dose 1) by 28 September 2021. 

Health Care Workers, see the full list here: must receive at lease dose 1 from 30 September 2021 and have had dose 2 by 30 November 2021.

 

NSW Education and Care Workers, see details here: All education and care workers must be fully vaccinated by 8 Nov 2021. This includes anyone who works or carries out work at a government or non-government school, including teachers, administration staff and maintenance workers; anyone who works or carries out work at an ECEC facility; and anyone who provides disability support at a government or non-government school.

QLD

COVID 19 Health workers: Workers who work in COVID-19 wards, provide occasional or intimate care (including ambulances known to transport COVID-19 patients) are required to be vaccinated. More detail is available here.

 

Health workers: must receive dose 1 by 30 September 2021 and does 2 by 31 October 2021. More details are available here.

 

Queensland Ambulance Service: all employees who work in high risk groups must have dose 1 by 30 September 2021 and receive dose 2 by 31 October 2021.

 

Quarantine facility services: from 15 June 2021 quarantine facility workers must have started the COVID-19 vaccination process.[2]

WA

Quarantine: WA quarantine centre workers are prevented from entering or remaining at a quarantine centre if they haven’t been vaccinated against COVID-19. This includes:

  • security personnel, cleaners and hotel staff
  • medical and health staff
  • ADF personnel and WA police.

Aged care/ambulance/paramedics: In addition to the Commonwealth Aged Care directive, any person working at a residential aged care facility (including ambulance officers/paramedics) must have at least 1 dose by 17 September 2021.

 

Health care workers/health support workers: must have their first dose by 1 October 2021 and must be fully vaccinated by 1 November 2021. ‘Health care workers’ includes ambulance officers/paramedics working and ‘health support workers’ includes all paid and voluntary workers onsite, including cleaners, food preparation staff, and security officers.

 

Port workers: All staff working at commercial ports who have access to an ‘exposed vessel’ coming from overseas must be fully vaccinated by November 12, 2021.[3]

 

Workers in the Resources Sector: FIFO (fly-in-fly out) as well as local workers in WA mining and resource sites, workers in remote operations, or those who run critical infrastructure, must receive their first dose by 1 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.[4]

TAS

Workers at quarantine services are will not be able to work on site if they have not been fully vaccinated by 17 September.

 

Workers in a health care setting: will be required to have had their first dose by 31 October 2021. This includes non-health workers in medical or health facilities including security personnel, cleaners, and food preparation staff. See details here.

VIC

COVID-19 Quarantine Victoria (CQV): frontline quarantine workers must be vaccinated. This includes all persons employed or contracted to work in the COVID-19 Accommodation Program.[5]

 

Workers in health care settings: From 15 October 2021, in order to work in a healthcare setting workers must be:

  • fully vaccinated; or
  • have received dose 1 and have a booking to receive dose 2 by 15 December 2021; or
  • haven’t received any doses but have a booking to receive first dose by 29 October 2021 (and will need to be vaccinated by 15 Dec 2021).

See details here.

 

All staff at schools and early childhood services (including cleaners and outside of school hours care services): From 18 October 2021 all workers must be:

  • fully vaccinated; or
  • have received dose 1 and have a booking to receive dose 2 by 29 November 2021; or
  • haven’t received any doses but have a booking to receive first dose by 25 October 2021 (and will need to be vaccinated by 29 November 2021).

See details here.

 

Authorised workers, see the list here. From 15 October 2021, workers must be:

  • fully vaccinated; or
  • have received dose 1 and have a booking to receive dose 2 by 26 November 2021; or
  • haven’t received any doses but have a booking to receive first dose by 22 October 2021 (and will need to be vaccinated by 26 November 2021).

See details here.

SA

Airports and Quarantine: Workers who are stationed in one of the following must be vaccinated:

  • Designated red-zone in airports and medi-hotels
  • Clinical care to overseas arrivals in supervised quarantine
  • Clinical care in medi-hotels or quarantine facilities
  • Quarantine transport

Workers can only commence work after dose 1 and must receive their second dose within six weeks of their return.[6]

 

Paramedics (regional only): Must have at least one dose by September 24, 2021. This will include both staff and volunteer paramedics.

 

SA Health, see details here: Anyone who works in a health care setting must have received at least 1 dose of a vaccine by 1 November 2021. They must receive dose 2 within a month of their first dose.

NT

Essential High-Risk Workers:[7] The following workers are required to have their first dose by 12 November 2021, and fully vaccinated by 24 December 2021:

  • Workers likely to come into contact with people at risk of COVID – e.g., early childhood staff, disability care workers, personal care workers, hospitality workers.
  • Workers at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 or who work in a high-risk setting – e.g., health care workers, food manufacturing, cold storage.
  • Workers in logistics and essential infrastructure – e.g., gas, water, sewerage or in emergency operations centres.

Full list of workers and further details here

 

Quarantine workers: Workers must be fully vaccinated; or have received one dose of the vaccine by 15 October 2021 and have a booking to receive the second by 26 November 2021. Further details here.

Residential Aged Care Workers: Employees of aged care facilities and any workers who service an aged care facility, must be fully vaccinated; or have already received their first dose and have a booking to receive the second by 31 October 2021. Further details here.

 


REFERENCES:

[1] https://www.qld.gov.au/health/conditions/health-alerts/coronavirus-covid-19/current-status/public-health-directions/covid-19-testing-for-quarantine-facility-workers


[2] https://www.vic.gov.au/vps-guidance-note-covid-19-vaccination-rollout#vaccination-requirements


[3] https://www.covid-19.sa.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/429753/Supervised-Quarantine-No-10-26-07-2021.pdf

Most health directives generally do not require an employer to pay an employee or give them paid leave to go and get vaccinated. However, some employers are giving workers paid leave to go and get jabbed and Union members are pushing for employers to do this.

 

The other exception to this is that casual residential aged care workers may be eligible to receive via their employer:

  • $80 per dose for offsite vaccination
  • a day of paid leave ($185) if unwell after vaccination and you have no other leave entitlements).

Vaccinations – NSW-specific

Special rules now apply for many workers in NSW as a result of health directives. Because of these directives, workers covered by the new rules can’t enter or remain in their place of work unless they have had at least 1 dose of the vaccine, or unless they have been issued with a medical contraindication certificate. It does not appear at that the NSW Government is allowing any other exceptions.

You need to apply for a medical contraindication certificate, which can be provided by a Doctor. There is a prescribed form.

The NSW Government’s directive doesn’t require an employer to pay an employee or give them paid leave to go and get vaccinated. However some employers are giving workers paid leave to go and get jabbed and Union members are pushing for employers to do this.

 

The other exception to this is that casual residential aged care workers may be eligible to receive via their employer:

  • $80 per dose for offsite vaccination
  • a day of paid leave ($185) if unwell after vaccination and you have no other leave entitlements).

At this stage, medical exemptions appear to apply to all categories.

NSW Authorised workers, see details here: by 9 September 2021 you must have had one dose or have an appointment booked for vaccination on or before 19 September 2021.

NSW Aged Care, see details here: if they are an employee of the facility or they service the facility, must have had dose 1 by 17 September 2021.

Disability and early childhood care workers, see details here: by 19 September 2021 you must have had one dose or have an appointment booked for vaccination on or before 19 September 2021.

NSW Airport and Quarantine Workers, see the full list here: must not enter or provide services unless they have received 2 doses (or have received 1 dose and will get their second dose within 3 months of dose 1) by 28 September 2021. 

Health Care Workers, see the full list here: must receive at lease dose 1 from 30 September 2021 and have had dose 2 by 30 November 2021.

NSW school staff: (including school cleaners) must have received 2 doses of by 8 November 2021.

Vaccinations – VIC-specific

Workers in health care settings (this includes paramedics and cleaning staff): From 15 October 2021, in order to work in a healthcare setting workers must be:

  • fully vaccinated; or
  • have received dose 1 and have a booking to receive dose 2 by 15 December 2021; or
  • haven’t received any doses but have a booking to receive first dose by 29 October 2021 (and will need to be vaccinated by 15 Dec 2021).

See details here.

All staff at schools and early childhood services (including cleaners and outside of school hours care services): From 18 October 2021

  • fully vaccinated; or
  • have received dose 1 and have a booking to receive dose 2 by 29 November 2021; or
  • haven’t received any doses but have a booking to receive first dose by 25 October 2021 (and will need to be vaccinated by 29 November 2021).

See details here.

Authorised workers, see the list here. From 15 October 2021, workers must be:

  • fully vaccinated; or
  • have received dose 1 and have a booking to receive dose 2 by 26 November 2021; or
  • haven’t received any doses but have a booking to receive first dose by 22 October 2021 (and will need to be vaccinated by 26 November 2021).

See details here.

The full list is available here.

 

It includes (there are some exceptions, see the link):

·         Accommodation worker

·         Agriculture and forestry worker

·         Airport workers

·         Ancillary, support and welfare services worker

·         Authorised Officers

·         Care facility worker

·         Community workers

·         Creative arts worker

·         Custodial worker

·         Emergency service worker

·         Entertainment and function worker

·         Funeral worker

·         Higher education worker

·         Justice Service Centre

·         Manufacturing worker

·         Marriage celebrant

·         Meat and seafood processing worker

·         Media and film production worker

·         Mining worker

·         Physical recreation worker

·         Religious worker

·         Port and freight worker

·         Professional sports, high-performance sports or racing person

·         Professional services worker

·         Public sector employee

·         Real estate worker

·         Repair and maintenance worker

·         Retail workers

·         Science and technology workers

·         Social and Community Workers

·         Transport worker

·         Utility or urban workers

·         Veterinary and pet/animal care workers

A health care working is anyone who works in a health care setting (including clinical healthcare workers and non-clinical healthcare workers, eg. cleaners, caterers and other staff). See here.

Evidence of your vaccination can include:

An employer is required to hold this information. It is therefore likely that an employer’s request for a copy of any of the above, will be reasonable.

You may be exempt if you are unable to be vaccinated because you have a medical contraindication as determined by ATAGI clinical guidance.

You will need evidence from a medical practitioner about this – such as a medical certificate or a letter.

The operator must sight and record evidence from one of the following authorised medical practitioners:

  • general practice registrars on an approved 3GA training placement
  • public health physicians
  • general physicians
  • infectious disease physicians
  • clinical immunologists
  • gynaecologists
  • obstetricians
  • GPs who are vocationally registered
  • GPs who is a fellow of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners
  • GP who is a fellow of the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine

Evidence of your vaccination can include:

 

Under the public health order, an employer is required to hold this information by the required date (generally 15 October 2021). An employer’s request for this information will therefore be reasonable.

Vaccinations – SA-specific

All workers engaging in work or duties in:

  • a public hospital
  • a private hospital
  • an ambulance service (including an ambulance service for transporting patients)

This includes clinicians, ambulance workers, allied health, cleaners, administrative and executive staff, volunteers, contractors and students undertaking placement regardless of whether they work in a patient or a non-patient area.

You must receive dose 1 by 1 November 2021 and receive the second dose within 1 month of dose 2.

Workers covered by the new rules can’t enter or remain in their place of work unless they have been vaccinated in accordance with the health directive (or they have a health exception).

If there is a genuine reason why an employee was unable to obtain an appointment (which seems unlikely due to walk-in clinics), they should contact Human Resources.

You should go to your doctor, obtain a medical certificate and complete the immunisation exemption application, here.

This application and certificate needs to be emailed to [email protected].

Your application for an exemption must be endorsed by the Chief Public Health Officer (CPHO). If approved, the CPHO will provide a signed exemption letter that can be provided to your employer.

Evidence of your vaccination can include:

 

Under the public health order, an employer is required to hold this information. An employer’s request for this information will therefore be reasonable.

Pregnancy is not a reason for a medical exemption under the Direction.

SA Health staff can access available sick leave if you experience any side effects to the vaccination.

Vaccinations – NT-specific

Essential High-Risk Workers:[1] The following workers are required to have their first dose by 12 November 2021, and fully vaccinated by 24 December 2021:

  • Workers likely to come into contact with people at risk of COVID – e.g., early childhood staff, disability care workers, personal care workers, hospitality workers.
  • Workers at increased risk of contracting COVID-19 or who work in a high-risk setting – e.g., health care workers, food manufacturing, cold storage.
  • Workers in logistics and essential infrastructure – e.g., gas, water, sewerage or in emergency operations centres.

 

Quarantine workers: Workers must be fully vaccinated; or have received one dose of the vaccine by 15 October 2021 and have a booking to receive the second by 26 November 2021. Further details here.

Residential Aged Care Workers: Employees of aged care facilities and any workers who service an aged care facility, must be fully vaccinated; or have already received their first dose and have a booking to receive the second by 31 October 2021. Further details here.

See the NT list here.

Evidence of your vaccination could include:

Under the public health order, an employer and/or a PCBU is required to hold this information. An employer’s request for this information will therefore be reasonable and they are specifically authorised to request, collect, use and disclose information that is covered by section 22(2) of the Australian Immunisation Register Act 2015 (Cth).

You should go to your doctor, obtain a medical certificate that shows you have a contraindication to all approved COVID-19 Vaccines.

The medical certificate must be as follows:

  1. a medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner that certifies that the worker has a contraindication to all approved COVID-19 vaccines determined in accordance with the Clinical guidance on use of COVID-19 vaccine in Australia in 2021, or any successor guidelines, issued by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI);
  2. a certificate issued by the Commonwealth that certifies that the worker has a contraindication to all approved COVID-19 vaccines.

COVID Tests and Isolation

The circumstances will vary depending on the nature of your employment. If you are a permanent employee, you should speak with your employer first about what they intend to do - whether they will keep paying you.

If you need further assistance, you should contact your Union Organiser or the Union for advice specific to your circumstances.

You should let your employer know as soon as possible that you have to isolate.

Unless you are sick or caring for someone else, you are not likely to be able to access personal leave. You can request to take annual leave, if you have it available (including at half pay).

If you are not eligible for payment, see the above information in relation to accessing Disaster Payments and other options that may be available.  

If your employment is threatened, you should contact the Union.

 

Stand downs

What do I do if my employer stands me down?

Unfortunately, even in COVID-19 under the Fair Work Act stand downs are lawful. Here is a list of steps you can take if you are stood down.

  1. Clarify the nature of your employment and call your union. That means finding out whether you are being stood down and for how long, or whether you have lost your job.
  2. If you are being stood down, in some situations workers should still be paid, especially if the worker’s employer is eligible for ‘Jobkeeper-like’ government subsidies (including the recently announced COVID-19 Disaster Payment in NSW and other hotspots). If you are stood down call you union or delegate straight away.
  3. You should also check if you are employed under an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA). Your EBA may say that an employer must first make best endeavours to find alternative work before standing you down.
  4. If you are not stood down but sent home during the lockdown, you could also push for special arrangements, like special leave or working at home arrangements.

Can stand downs be indefinite?

No, stand downs should not be indefinite. During the pandemic we expect that longer stand downs might occur but there should be a specified end date (or review period). If you have not been stood down, and have instead lost your job, you may be eligible for redundancy.

Can I be forced to take annual leave in lieu of being stood down?

You cannot be forced to take annual leave in lieu of being stood down but you can if you want to.

Unfortunately, you cannot access other personal leave like sick leave when on a stand down either.

What should I do if I lose my job permanently?

Workers who lose their job permanently as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for redundancy pay. So, if you are not just stood down but have been told you have lost your job permanently than you should contact your union. If your employer failed to consult or make reasonable attempts to redeploy, then there also may be potential grounds for unfair dismissal application.

Unfortunately, even in COVID-19 under the Fair Work Act stand downs are lawful. Here is a list of steps you can take if you are stood down.

  1. Clarify the nature of your employment and call your union. That means finding out whether you are being stood down and for how long, or whether you have lost your job.
  2. If you are being stood down, in some situations workers should still be paid, especially if the worker’s employer is eligible for ‘Jobkeeper-like’ government subsidies (including the recently announced COVID-19 Disaster Payment in NSW and other hotspots). If you are stood down call you union or delegate straight away.
  3. You should also check if you are employed under an enterprise bargaining agreement (EBA). Your EBA may say that an employer must first make best endeavours to find alternative work before standing you down.
  4. If you are not stood down but sent home during the lockdown, you could also push for special arrangements, like special leave or working at home arrangements.

No, stand downs should not be indefinite. During the pandemic we expect that longer stand downs might occur but there should be a specified end date (or review period). If you have not been stood down, and have instead lost your job, you may be eligible for redundancy.

You cannot be forced to take annual leave in lieu of being stood down but you can if you want to.

Unfortunately, you cannot access other personal leave like sick leave when on a stand down either.

Workers who lose their job permanently as a result of COVID-19 may be eligible for redundancy pay. So, if you are not just stood down but have been told you have lost your job permanently than you should contact your union. If your employer failed to consult or make reasonable attempts to redeploy, then there also may be potential grounds for unfair dismissal application.

STAND UP FOR WORKING PEOPLE