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Victorian mandatory vaccination requirements updated overnight with immediate effect

Libby Pallot, Walter MacCallum, Anthony Massaro, Ben Tallboys, Abbey Burns, Natasha Sim, Morgan Smithe & Sophie Cusworth

The Victorian Government has released the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 2) (Mandatory Vaccination Directions) and the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Directions (No 7) (Specified Facilities Directions) overnight.

The new directions replace the previous COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions, which we discussed in our alert last Friday and the COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Specified Facilities) Directions (No 6) which cover residential aged care facilities, construction sites, healthcare facilities and educational facilities.

Importantly, the Directions do not impose any new obligations on employers in terms of notification of workers, collection of vaccination information, or preventing workers from leaving their homes to work (under the Mandatory Vaccination Directions) or entering or remaining on a specified facility (under the Specified Facilities Directions).

However, the Mandatory Vaccination Directions fill some key gaps in the original version of these Directions. The Mandatory Vaccination Directions now expressly cover:

  • social and community service workers who work in connection with aged care services;
  • care workers who work in connection with a retirement village; 
  • all local government workers;
  • media service workers;
  • some legal support workers.

The definition of “medical practitioner” has also changed under both of the updated Directions. 

The timeframes for compliance have not changed. This means that if you engage workers in one of the roles that has been added to the Mandatory Vaccination Directions overnight:

  • if you have not already sought information regarding their vaccination status, you must do so as soon as practicable;
  • if the worker is covered by the Mandatory Vaccination Directions you must not permit them to leave home to work for you from today unless you have information to the effect that they are vaccinated against COVID-19, or that they have a booking for their first vaccination by 22 October 2022, or they are exempt.

The updated Directions also contain some new exceptions: 

  • education workers who are required to carry out assessments of oral or performance examinations, and venue coordinators for those examinations, are now exempt from the vaccination requirements; and
  • workers covered by the Specified Facilities Directions who are in self-quarantine who have a booking to receive their first COVID-19 vaccination dose within 7 days of the end of the period of self-quarantine (this was already in the Mandatory Vaccination Directions).

How we can help?

If you require assistance in complying with these Directions, our Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety Team has been helping employers across a range of sectors to introduce vaccination requirements, and manage employees who cannot or will not be vaccinated. We have prepared a range of documents and template communications which can assist with this process. 

If you would like to keep in touch with Alerts and Insights from our Workplace Relations, Employment and Safety team, you can subscribe to our mailing list here.

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