A no-jab no-job policy will not be pursued by the federal government, which has said it is up to individual companies to make their own decisions about mandating vaccinations for staff.
The federal government’s top lawyer, solicitor-general Stephen Donaghue QC, on Friday briefed the nation’s leaders on the legality of workplaces mandating vaccines for their staff and customers.
It comes after fruit and vegetable company SPC announced it would make vaccines mandatory for onsite staff and visitors.
Vaccines will also become mandatory for aged care staff from September, while quarantine workers in some states are already required to be fully inoculated.
Speaking after National Cabinet, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the federal government would not be introducing new orders.
“Except in the areas I’ve already nominated, in the areas of quarantine and aged care, both the Commonwealth and the states are not making any moves in that area,” he said.
“Otherwise, the rule of law applies as it normally does.”
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The decision effectively leaves individual employers to navigate the complex legalities surrounding the issue on their own.
Currently, the Fair Work Ombudsman says most employers should assume they cannot force their employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.
However, there are a small number of circumstances where employers can mandate vaccines, such as if there’s a public health order requiring the vaccination of staff, such as in high-risk workplaces like aged care homes.
Mr Morrison said any workplace decisions about vaccines would need to be lawful and reasonable.
“An employer may want to make a reasonable directive to staff and if they do so, they will have to stay consistent with the law and that particularly would deal with a situation where an employee may be in good direct contact potentially or becoming infected and acquire the virus,” he said.
“It may include people like airline workers or others in those situations where they are coming in close contact with those carrying the virus.
“These are all legal decisions that have to pass a reasonable test and ultimately decided by the courts and employers need to consider those matters very carefully if they are looking to make directions of that nature.”
Source ABC News