With the ever-changing situation surrounding COVID-19 in the eastern states of Australia, and the impending opening of Western Australian borders next month, it’s important for WA business owners to remain proactive in ensuring the health and wellbeing of both their workers and their business. New directions from the WA Government have been implemented which states workers with mandatory vaccination requirements must now receive booster vaccinations, affecting specific industries and occupations.
Who does this apply to?
The new COVID-19 vaccination government directives apply to:
- Critical infrastructure workers which include commercial laundry workers, electricity infrastructure workers, gas infrastructure workers, telecommunications infrastructure workers, waste infrastructure workers, water infrastructure workers and miscellaneous infrastructure workers;
- Quarantine centre workers;
- Residential aged care facility workers;
- Health care facility workers;
- Primary health care workers;
- Exposed vessel workers on boarding an exposed vessel;
- Exposed vessel contact workers entering a port;
- Exposed vessel transport workers entering a dedicated conveyance;
- Port workers entering a restricted port location to carry out port activities, operations or services, boarding or working on unexposed vessels or being on a vehicle carrying only people disembarking an unexposed vessel;
- Transport, freight and logistics drivers entering WA who have been in a low, medium, high or extreme risk jurisdiction in the last 14 days;
- Mission critical area workers (including members of WA police force, ambulance and health care workers entering mission critical areas);
- Resources industry workers entering a rural or remote resources industry site or a remote operating centre;
- Rig or platform crew members entering a rural or remote airport or a State Port to travel to or from a rig or platform;
- Meat industry workers;
- Air services workers entering an airport;
- Border workers entering a border crossing checkpoint;
- Department of Fire and Emergency Services employees, and Department of Biodiversity Conservation and Attractions employees entering a fire and emergency services site;
- Fire and emergency services workers entering a fire and emergency services site;
- Workers entering a correctional facility;
- WA Police Force workers entering a WA Police facility;
- Community care services workers entering a community care services facility or a community care services accommodation;
- Community care critical services worker entering a community care services facility or a community care services accommodation;
- Building and construction workers;
- Education workers;
- Transport workers driving or boarding a commercial or public transport conveyance for work purposes;
- Air tanker crew members entering WA or any air tanker crew place;
- Critical business workers entering a critical business site such as certain accommodation, Hospitality and retail, service or distribution premises;
- Remote Aboriginal community workers entering a remote Aboriginal community;
- A person who is a critical government regulator who is entering a critical government regulator site;
- A person who is a Ministerial staff member, entering a Ministerial site.
When do workers have to receive their booster shot by?
The timeframes for eligibility of the booster vaccinations vary depending on when the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccination was received.
Workers covered by the mandatory vaccination requirements who are eligible to receive a booster vaccination on or before the 24th December 2021 must receive the booster vaccination by 5th February 2022.
Workers covered by the mandatory vaccination requirements who are eligible to receive a booster vaccination after the 24th December 2021 must receive the booster vaccination within one calendar month of becoming eligible, as outlined below:
For the period from 24th December 2021 until 3rd January 2022, workers are eligible to receive the booster 5 months from the date of becoming fully vaccinated.
For the period from 4th January 2022 until 30th January 2022, workers are eligible to receive the booster 4 months from the date of becoming fully vaccinated.
For the period from 30th January 2022, workers are eligible to receive the booster 3 months from the date of becoming fully vaccinated.
What can I do as a business owner?
As a business owner, it’s vital to take all reasonable steps in order to comply with this new government directive. This means ensuring that those employees rostered on to work meet the vaccination requirements, or have an appropriate exemption, as well as properly collecting and maintaining a record of the booster vaccination status of all relevant workers.
Business owners also need to consult with workers surrounding the updates to the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, keeping the lines of communication open and providing correct and up-to-date information to employees. Removing any ambiguity or vagueness surrounding employee vaccination requirements will assist in a smooth roll out of the booster shot requirements amongst the workforce, supporting the continuity of business operations.
Being proactive and taking all necessary precautions is key to ensuring compliance with this latest government directive as failure to do so can result in fines of up to $20,000 for individuals and $100,000 for businesses.
How can I confirm my workers have received their booster shot?
Workers who are required to receive the booster shot can provide employers with a copy of the official COVID-19 digital certificate as issued by Medicare, which can be accessed via the MyGov app or at my.gov.au. If accessed via the MyGov app, workers can also add the certificate to the Apple Wallet or Google Pay on a smart phone for convenience.
As a business owner, it’s important to ensure the health and welfare of employees whilst protecting your business at the same time. If you need assistance updating your COVID-19 policy and implementing the latest government vaccination requirements in your workplace, our team of highly skilled HR professionals can help.
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