Victorian retailers and their employees could face thousands of dollars in fines if they fail to comply with new Covid worker directions introduced last week.
Retailers who don’t comply may be fined over $100,000, and all staff working on-site must get the jab or risk being fined over $20,000 themselves.
Heather Richardson, Partner at Kalus Kenny Intelex Lawyers says these strict new rules will require extra work to be undertaken by employers including collecting and storing staff vaccination status data.
In-store staff members must be vaccinated
Under the new rules, staff members who refuse to vaccinate won’t be able to work on-site.
The new Victorian Government Directions require every authorised worker in Victoria to have had at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine by Friday 15 October in order to work outside the home.
To comply, retailers must ensure their workers:
- can prove they have received or booked their first vaccination by 15 October
- are fully vaccinated by November 26
Limited exemptions apply, for example medical conditions which prevent a person from being vaccinated.
“To meet these mandatory vaccination Directions, the onus is on employers to collect, record and store information about each employee’s vaccination status,” Ms Richardson says.
“This information must be collected for any employee who is, or will be, working onsite or from any location outside their home on or after 15 October 2021.”
Workers who attend a workplace without a valid permit (which requires confirmation of vaccination) can face fines, as can the employer, says Ms Richardson.
“Courts can impose penalties of up to $21,808 on individuals and $109,044 on businesses who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet permit requirements (including vaccination status).”
Employers should also be aware of their obligations when collecting, using, storing and disclosing employee health information, including vaccination status, as regulated by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth).
“As this is a rapidly evolving space, it is important that you continue to check the up to date requirements,” Ms Richardson says,