Employers and employees under pressure by worker vax mandate

Employers are bearing the brunt of the Andrews Government’s authorised worker vaccine mandate.

Daniel Andrews announced last week that all workers on its Authorised Worker list must have their first COVID-19 vaccine dose by Friday, 15 October 2021 or provide evidence of a vaccine booking before 22 October to continue working onsite.

All authorised workers must be fully vaccinated by 26 November 2021 or face a work place sanction.

Speaking in Parliament, The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath highlighted the need for additional support for small business and clearer information for employers and employees about the multiple consequences of the Andrews Government’s mandatory vaccination rule.

“I hold great concern for the impact of these directions on our local community, in particular on local businesses and their ability to keep their businesses staffed,” said Ms Bath.

“There is no doubt it has also created great stress for employers and employees and caused division.

“In the last two weeks I have been inundated by people across a range of industries that are facing significant uncertainty due to an inability to backfill for unvaccinated workers as a direct result of the mandates.

“People in our region want to do the right thing, but the Andrews Government has failed to provide any clarity to businesses who are worried about privacy, unfair dismissal legal action and what unvaccinated workers are entitled to receive.

“Small businesses are feeling extremely vulnerable to legal action.

“The Andrews Government must ensure that Victoria businesses who are legally obliged to comply with its directives are indemnified – anything less is negligent.”

Ms Bath confirmed she was fully vaccinated along with her Victorian Nationals state parliament colleagues.

“While I am actively encouraging all of my constituents to get vaccinated, the reality is that not everyone is willing to.

“The mandating of vaccines for aged-care, disability and healthcare workers is needed as they work with vulnerable individuals who must be protected, however I do not support any further mandates.

“There is a better way to boost lagging vaccination levels by targeting identified groups at the neighbourhood level in trusted settings – something I called for weeks ago.

“While vaccines remain the best protection for Victorians from Covid-19, for months now the Victorian Nationals have been calling for the use of rapid testing in a variety of settings to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“Rapid testing reduces transmission risk through early identification – it’s widely used in a number of sectors including transport and health and could be easily implemented in others to support the ongoing challenge of Covid-19.”