The State Government has announced that a mandatory vaccination policy for a majority of occupations and workforces in Western Australia will be introduced in a phased approach to prepare the community for expected community transmission of COVID-19.
The policy strengthens current mandates and covers the next groups of industries to be mandated, as well as a requirement for other critical workers to be vaccinated to be permitted to work in the event of a lockdown or similar restrictions.
Who is affected by the mandatory vaccination policy?
The occupations and workforces covered by this policy have been separated into three categories, subject to different timeframes and circumstances, based on risk.
Industries determined to have high transmission risk, or are a vulnerability risk or are necessary or critical to the safety of the community.
Vaccine mandates have already been announced for the following which fall within this category:
- Hotel quarantine workers;
- Ports (exposed workers only);
- Residential aged care workers;
- Mission critical WA Police;
- Hospitals and healthcare facilities;
- Primary and community health;
- Cross-border freight workers (high and extreme risk locations only); and
- FIFO, onsite and mission critical resources sector.
This category will now also include:
- Border and air transport;
- Staff working in or entering remote Aboriginal communities;
- Residential and non-residential community care services;
- Corrective services;
- Remaining WA Police;
- Fire and Emergency Services (excluding volunteers); and
- Abattoirs and meat processing.
Industries and workforces deemed critical to ongoing delivery of business and the function of the community.
- Supermarkets, groceries, bakeries;
- Restaurants, pubs, bars or cafés;
- Post offices;
- Hardware stores;
- Child care or family day care;
- Teachers and staff at schools and boarding schools;
- Financial institutions;
- Critical infrastructure and services necessary for health, safety and welfare of the community, any person, animal or premises;
- Petrol station, truck stops and roadhouses;
- Public and commercial transport;
- Remaining port operations;
- Remaining commercial transport, freight or logistics;
- Accommodation services at hotels, motels and other accommodation facilities;
- Funeral or mortuary services; and
- Building, maintenance or construction.
In the event of a lockdown or similar restrictions, the following occupations will be required to be fully vaccinated to attend work:
- Other click and collect retail;
- Bottle shops;
- Pet stores;
- Critical conveyancing and settlement agents;
- Government or local government services where working from home is not possible;
- Some administrative services;
- Vehicle and mechanical repair service;
- Journalistic and media services;
- Members and staff of Members of Parliament of Western Australia;
- Roadside assistance workers;
- Critical forestry;
- Critical primary industries; and
- Critical factories, manufacturing, fabrication and production.
What has to be done and when?
All workers which have been recently added to this category must have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 1 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 31 December 2021.
However, the timeframes remain unchanged for the workers covered by the vaccine mandates which have already been announced.
All workers which fall within this category must have had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine by 31 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 31 January 2022.
However, all school staff will be required to be fully vaccinated prior to the start of Term 1 of 2022. While this will be 31 January 2022 for public education, private schools may be prior to that date.
Currently, there is no set deadline for these workers to be fully vaccinated. However, in the event of there being a lockdown or similar restrictions, these workers must be fully vaccinated to attend work during the lockdown or similar restrictions period.
We anticipate there will be further detail once the policy itself is released.
For advice or assistance with managing your obligations as a Western Australian employer, as well as managing vaccination information collection, please get in touch.