We’ve all navigated a number of pandemic-related issues this year – from keeping employees and customers safe and healthy, to moving operations remote, and navigating productivity and financial challenges. Now we all have to gear up for perhaps the most significant challenge yet:- managing COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace.
This is a complicated issue, balancing strong feelings for and against receiving the vaccine with the legal requirement to maintain an inclusive and safe workplace.
In early 2021, employers will effectively become the COVID-19 gatekeepers for their employees, contractors and customers. Some employers may nudge or incentivise employees and contractors to be vaccinated, and others will mandate it and we will all know much more in early 2021.
For now, of utmost importance is that employers will have to develop COVID vaccination plans. It’s something most employers have been kicking the can on for the past few months while they wait for news and updates on COVID-19 vaccines. A wait-and-see approach for a vaccination plan can no longer wait and it has to be a priority going into 2021. So, from next week epar will get things going for you:
First, for those customers using Connect 2.0, we will include Vaccination Certificates as a prerequisite for your Contractors in the Contractors app. This means that next year you can choose to electronically notify your contractors to provide evidence of COVID-19 vaccination as part of their EHS compliance;
Second, we will include “COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate” in the Credentials app for your staff. This will allow you to send an automated email task for staff to upload their Vaccination Certificate and the Connect 2.0 Credentials app will enable you to securely access, manage and update employee COVID Vaccination records.
COVID vaccination planning will require careful HR and WHS attention. On the WHS front, controlling the spread of infection in the workplace is an obligation borne by all parties. In all States, employers owe a duty to employees to provide and maintain a working environment that is safe and without risks to health and safety. Similarly, employees owe a duty to their employer to take reasonable care for their own health and safety, as well as the health and safety of persons who may be affected by their acts or omissions in the workplace.
In light of these duties, it may be reasonable and perhaps even necessary for employers in particular sectors to mandate a vaccination program in order to protect the health and safety of all workplace participants.
Stay safe everyone and we will continue to provide updates as they come to hand. If you have any questions please call 0412 294 514 or our Hotline 1300 471 175 or use the epar Help Desk in your Connect 2.0 Dashboard.