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From 23 November 2021 a new Test, Trace, Isolate and Quarantine (TTIQ) model was introduced in South Australia.  As part of this new model, construction and trade were identified as ‘essential businesses’. As such, the procedure to be used should any person with COVID attend your business, including staff, can be found HERE.

What does this mean for my business?

If there was a positive case of COVID-19 at my workplace, how do I determine if my staff are a close or casual contact and if they need to quarantine or not?
Refer to the procedure found HERE.

Risk is determined from five factors:

  • Vaccinated?
  • How close workers were to a case?
  • How long were they in contact?
  • Indoors or outdoors?
  • Size of room? (If indoors)
  • Was PPE in use at the time?

To minimise the impact of the final risk, you can support the safety of your staff by ensuring the use of appropriate PPE.

If an employee is a close contact of a COVID positive person, will their quarantine period be paid as sick leave?
Not if they are not sick. Personal leave is only available to employees who are in fact sick and/or caring for a family member who is sick.

Can I require an employee to undergo mandatory testing for COVID-19?
Yes, it may be reasonable to request this, for example if a business has a policy that employees who exhibits symptoms of COVID-19 are to be tested before returning to work or if it is stipulated in the ‘essential businesses and venues’ procedure HERE.

Keeping Staff  & Customers Safe

While the Australian Government’s policy is that receiving a vaccination is free and voluntary, it aims to have as many Australians vaccinated as possible.

With Australia’s vaccine rollout continuing and the increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccinations, employers and employees are encouraged to work together to find solutions that suit their individual needs and workplaces. A collaborative approach in the workplace that includes discussing, planning and facilitating COVID-19 vaccinations is an important part of Australia’s vaccine rollout, because having a vaccine is one of the best ways to protect ourselves and our community against COVID-19.

Can I mandate vaccination for my employees?
In some cases, employers may be able to require their employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Employers should exercise caution if they’re considering making COVID-19 vaccinations mandatory in their workplace and get their own legal advice.

Can I ask my staff if they have been vaccinated?
Yes, if the employee provides consent.

Can an employer request an employee to provide evidence of vaccination?
Yes – however, employers must be careful as they may breach privacy laws if they store such records incorrectly, so the best approach is to sight the vaccination status only.

Can we require our customers/clients to be double vaccinated?
Potentially – as a business you may elect to create your own conditions of entry, however you should not breach any laws that apply to your business in doing so.

One of my employees says they fear getting the vaccine – what can I do?
A range of resources are available from SA Health explaining the vaccine at Get the Facts.

Can I require unvaccinated staff not to attend the workplace?
Yes, as part of your business continuity planning it may be reasonable for you to determine that unvaccinated staff members are not to attend the workplace in order to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission in the workplace. This may not be a long-term solution however, and alternatives will need to be considered.

Must I offer my unvaccinated employee annual leave if they refuse to be vaccinated?
No. If it is deemed that an unvaccinated employee is unable to work whilst unvaccinated, an employer does not have to provide them with ongoing access to their leave. Howeve it may be reasonable for you to offer a short period of leave for that employee to assess their options and get advice. Leave must always be approved by an employer before an employee can access their entitlements.

What if an employee continues to refuse to be vaccinated – can I bring their employment to an end?
Potentially. If it has been determined that the COVID-19 vaccination forms an inherent requirement of the job, and the employee either refuses or is unable to be vaccinated, this may mean that the employee is no longer able to perform the inherent requirements of their role and therefore their employment contract may come to an end on account of frustration of employment. Please seek specific advice if you intend taking this action.

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