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BUSINESS & COVID – LEGAL

Business & COVID

Jeanette Jifkins, from Onyx Legal discussed the legal implications of Business and COVID. Download their flyer with information on:

        • Public Health and Social Measure linked to vaccination status
        • COVID-19 Laws
        • What to do in relations to checking vaccination certificates

Mandatory Vaccination

All  COVID Health Directions are state based as opposed to national.

The COVID Emergency Response Act (QLD) is what gave government the power to make decisions and pass laws around the COVID emergency. That Act made amendments to the Public Health Act (QLD) and these Health Directions are issued under the Public Health Act and they do have legal force.

It is not your responsibility to answer questions from your employees to whether they are really legal.

If they want that information, they need to go and get their own advice

It is not your responsibility, as employers, to advocate for your employees, against vaccinations.

It does not fall within your WHS or Legal responsibilities. Yes, you give your employees the freedom of choice, it is not your responsibility to advocate for their choices.

The current public health directive regarding mandatory vaccination is Workers in a healthcare setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction. There is also the Public Health and Social Measures linked to vaccination status plan, that is just a plan and not yet a Public Health Direction. The government will not pass this mandate until 17th December 2021. As soon as it is published online on 17th December 2021 it will take effect. That gives you a lead time of between now and 17th December 2021. View media statement below.

Your responsibility, as an employer, is to act reasonably. At the moment the information we have available to us is it is reasonable for an employer to do all things reasonably necessary to get to the point in anticipation that the health direction will be published on the 17th December 2021.

Any business who is mandating vaccination needs legal advice before they put a policy in place in their business.

If you are consulting with staff, it is recommended that you get legal advice before you tell anyone they cannot work for you anymore.

There is no single answer for every workplace in this legislation. Each workplace needs to be reviewed on its own circumstances.

Vaccination status of Suppliers and Customers

Your employees do not need to enforce entry into the workplace, in regards to vaccination status for suppliers and customers.

For example, if you have a health workplace and you have someone coming in to service the air conditioners you are entitled to inform the supplier that you are under a government mandate and require workers who have been fully vaccinated before then can come into your workplace.

When the supplier or customers arrives at your workplace all you need to do is look at the Check in App and see that there is a little green tick next to their name, which demonstrates that they are fully vaccinated, and that is alll that is required.

If they do not have the tick, ask them not to enter the worplace and if they refuse, then you can call the police.

What if someone cannot show they are vaccinated and refused to leave?

– Make sure you have the QLD Check in App
– Display the COVID safety checklist
– Display the vaccination rules
– Promote the requirements of your business on your website and social media channels, let people know as soon as possible if this is going to impact your business and what is going to be happening in your business.

If they refuse, you can call the police and they can be fined $1,378.50 per individual and possibly a six month gaol sentence.

Kelvin Patch, CEO of the CSC Group, which includes 4 licenses venues, was also part of the Panel on the 24th Nov 2021 and gave us insight into real life examples of what they are doing to be ready for 17 December 2021, as well as the above:
– have flyers with your vaccination rules available to hand out to customers
– sending out emails to customers to inform them of the changes so the dialogue can be through email and not directly conversation with front of house.
– Professional Development for employees including mediation and doing role plays.
– Mental Health boot camps for employees
– Engage with the Police in your area, for CSC Group the police will be doing more drive through and walk arounds of the venues so there is a presence there of the local authorities.

The government is publishing a documents to help businesses, which will be available online.