As all members will be aware, the Queensland Government has announced that from 17 December, unvaccinated people will be unable to attend hospitality venues such as hotels, pubs, clubs, taverns, bars, restaurants or cafes. This includes patrons and employees.
The actual details will be outlined in a public health direction (‘direction’) from the Acting Chief Health Officer. A public health direction is made under the Public Health Act 2005 and therefore is made in accordance with a law of Queensland and must be followed.
Until the direction is finalised, the QHA acknowledges there are many areas of the mandate requiring clarification.
The direction has not been released.
The QHA is now aware that the direction is unlikely to be released until a later date which may be the week before 17 December 2021.
The QHA is aware that there are still many areas requiring clarification and the delay in the release of the direction is causing a great deal of concern for QHA members.
Please rest assured we are continuing to engage with all relevant levels and departments of government to get the correct information for your businesses as quickly as possible.
Please note that the below is based on the information that has been made available to the QHA as at 25/11/21.
The information received at this stage indicates that:
- A register of employee vaccination status will be required, and it appears that employers will only have to sight a vaccination certificate, not take a copy;
- Employees with a medical contraindication will be able to work past 17/12/21 where relevant medical evidence has been provided;
- Regular contractors working in a hotel, such as security will have to be vaccinated;
- Employees that work, even for a short period, across multiple departments that would otherwise require vaccination, will have to be vaccinated;
- Non-operational administrative employees are likely not covered by the direction; and
- Detached bottle shop employees are considered retail and will not be captured by the direction (refer to the QHA ER Bulletin 12 November 2021).
There remains a number of important outstanding questions, including but not limited to:
- What is defined as a hotel for the purpose of the direction;
- Exactly whom the direction applies to, such as whether the direction applies to:
- out of hours cleaning; and
- other non-traditional hospitality roles employed by a hospitality employer;
- How the direction will apply to attached bottle shop employees;
- Whether there are any other possible exemptions (other than medical contraindication) to an employee captured by the direction being vaccinated;
- The evidence requirements where an employee has a medical contraindication; and
- The exact employee vaccination register requirements.
As detailed in our 12 November ER Bulletin, the QHA’s Employment Relations team has developed a couple of templates (A and B) to communicate with employees about mandatory vaccination.
To access a copy of this Bulletin, click HERE.
With it now being clear that the direction will not be released until shortly before 17 December, members that are concerned about particular employees not being vaccinated by 17 December should consider further communication with those employees.
Template A has been updated to reflect the circumstances outlined in this ER Bulletin and it can provided to employees generally. Template A outlines that if the direction applies to an employee and they are not vaccinated, the employee will not be able to work.
Click to download a revised version of Template A (called Template 2A) in WORD or PDF format .
Template B is a direction to an employee. As detailed in the 12 November ER Bulletin, there are risks in issuing Template B prior to the direction being released because the direction is the lawful basis for employers directing those employees captured by the direction to be vaccinated.
However, considering that there are only 3 weeks until 17 December, members should give consideration to issuing Template B (if they have not already) to any employee that they reasonably believe the direction applies to, and that has indicated that they are not or will not be vaccinated.
The QHA will continue to provide further information and guidance and in the lead up to 17 December 2021.
As mentioned earlier in this ER Bulletin, members will need to keep a register that confirms an employee’s vaccination status. To assist members to start recording this data, QHA has developed a template register that can be used to confirm vaccination status has been checked, and the type of evidence provided is recorded.
Please note that the register has been developed by the QHA’s Employment Relations team to assist members. Is it not a template that Queensland Health has provided.
Click HERE to download the template register.