Ever since January 2020, industries throughout Australia have battled hard to stay on course and adapt to a new sense of normality as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. As vaccines started to roll out earlier this year, the question on everyone’s mind is: will it be mandatory to provide evidence of a COVID vaccine in the workplace?
And the answer is yes – eventually.
Restaurants and Catering Australia conducted a survey which highlighted that about 63% of businesses are in favour of legally requiring all of their staff to be fully vaccinated.
In early August, SPC, one of the leading fruit and vegetable manufacturers in Australia, declared that it would be mandatory for all its staff to have the COVID vaccine, making it the first Australian company to do so. Later that same month, Aviation industry giant Qantas declared that it would also be making it mandatory for all their 22,000 employees, including airport workers, pilots and cabin crew, to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
Industries such as the Aged Care sector are also being affected. Starting from the 17th of September, the Australian Government Department of Health has announced that staff working in residential aged care facilities are required to have at least their first round of COVID vaccine before they can enter a facility.
From the 21st of September, a number of home care service providers will be required to track and keep all records of their workforce COVID vaccinations.
With more businesses and sectors expected to follow suit, the legalities of mandating vaccine evidence in the workplace, such as providing a statement of one’s immunisation history or a COVID-19 digital certificate, is already a hot topic.
According to the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, an employer can require their staff to provide information about their COVID vaccination status only in limited circumstances. The collection of this sensitive information is permitted under the APP (Australian Privacy Principle) 3. In most cases, an employer will require consent, which must be freely given by the individual, before they can collect information regarding a vaccination status.
However, there are certain workers who will be required by law to be vaccinated against COVID and provide this evidence to their employer. It does vary from state to state, but staff such as certain health care, quarantine, airport, transportation and aged care workers will fall under this category.
Whether businesses are for or against the unfolding mandatory requirements that are slowly being enforced throughout Australia, a complex challenge is already bubbling to the service.
As businesses juggle the task of adhering to ever-changing compliance requirements, ensuring valid worker credentials and evidence of COVID vaccinations, how are they expected to keep track of it all? Just one compliance breach can send an organisation into a downward spiral.
The Australian Government hasn’t said too much in regards to penalising employers and employees who refuse or fail to provide evidence of a COVID vaccination – but that doesn’t mean this won’t be an issue down the line. However, employers do have access to helpful management systems that provide a future-proof solution, rather than struggling to keep track of everything manually.
The Dutch philosopher Desiderius Erasmus famously said “prevention is better than cure”, and as this is our website, we might as well highlight how our own Vaccine Management solution is a great example of this.
As an extension of our Credential Management software, our Vaccine Management platform provides peace of mind when it comes to adhering to mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies. It allows organisations to easily manage all of their staff vaccination records from one centralised database.
If an industry is hit with a mandatory vaccination policy, our software makes it simple for businesses to make proof of vaccination a condition of entry for their contractors, staff and other individuals before they can enter a site.
But as stated before, not all workers are enforced under a blanket policy, so how can organisations differentiate between who and who isn’t required to show proof of vaccination?
The trade of an inductee will determine their risk and requirement to show proof of certain vaccinations. Depending on a business’s preference, we can make this optional or mandatory. If requiring evidence of a COVID vaccination is mandatory or a best practice procedure, then we can activate this feature and make it a compliance item for when the inductee arrives on-site.
If the individual is not able to provide proof of vaccination, then they will be denied entry to the site. Our system will notify them as to the reason for their denial and will send out alerts to the necessary people on-site so they can take the next required steps.
The future of a post-COVID world may seem uncertain, especially with the looming threat of mandatory proof of vaccinations throughout the workplace. But rather than succumb to the pain of inevitable change, implementing a flexible platform that enables organisations to adapt quickly is a much more efficient and stress-free solution.
Take the words “prevention is better than cure” to heart and make sure your business isn’t struggling to find a cure amidst the chaos. Organise your free demo and discover how LinkSafe can design and create a tailored solution to your specific management challenges and goals today.