Mandatory Vaccination for Victorian Workplaces
Samuel Ellemor, Senior Associate in Employment Law provides an update on the Victorian Government's vaccine mandate and its impact on workplaces as at 8 October, 2021.
The Victorian Government’s road map to re-opening has made it clear that vaccine passports are an integral part of the Government’s plan to re-open the economy, thus raising many questions for small and medium businesses.
The law concerning casual employment in Australia has changed as a result of recent amendments to the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) by the Federal Parliament. These changes will affect all employers who employ casual employees, and will often require employers to take immediate action to ensure compliance with the updated legislation.
Back in April, during the initial COVID-19 crisis, the Federal Parliament and Fair Work Commission made a number of unprecedented, temporary changes to employment law, to help both employers and employees adjust to the new situation created by the pandemic. The most important of these changes was the introduction of the JobKeeper directions into the Fair Work Act, which enabled employers to adjust employees’ work hours, duties and work location, among other matters. An employer’s power to issue JobKeeper directions was scheduled to end on 27 September 2020, but the Parliament has passed new legislation extending the scheme until 28 March 2021 for eligible employers and employees. Importantly, some employers will still be able to issue JobKeeper directions even if they are no longer eligible for JobKeeper payments.
The Federal Government has now has passed legislation to implement JobKeeper post-27 September 2020 when the scheme was originally scheduled to expire. There have been a number of important changes to Jobkeeper 2.0 since it was first announced in July. In particular, there is now a less stringent turnover test and the scheme can also cover employees employed as of 1 July 2020, not just those employed as of 1 March 2020. We shall call this JobKeeper 2.1.
To what extent can an employer use workplace policies to regulate what their employees say outside work? The question has become very topical, with the high profile court cases of Israel Folau and Michaela Banerji both making headlines last year. The question has arisen again, this time in a recent decision by the Full Federal Court in a case involving Dr Gary Rumble, a constitutional lawyer, and his former employer, HWL Ebsworth Lawyers.
For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced and increased a range of psychological issues, including feelings of isolation, loneliness, and anxiety, as they are unable to rely on their usual support networks, including the ability to visit friends and family. As many businesses have now shifted to a working from home and online environment, the already fine line between professional and personal life has proven even more difficult to draw.
In response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Parliament and Fair Work Commission have made a number of unprecedented, temporary changes to employment law, to help both employers and employees adjust to the present situation. These include giving employers greater flexibility to adjust employees’ work hours, duties and work location.
Employees covered by Modern Awards are now able to access five days of unpaid family and domestic violence leave each year, under amendments the Fair Work Commission has made to most Awards. An employee will be entitled to this leave under certain circumstances.
Victoria has declared a state of emergency in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The coronavirus and the public health measures that will be taken to limit its spread presents numerous challenges to businesses. In this article, we provide general information to help employers navigate the next few weeks and months.
Businesses are generally aware that they need to obtain Workers Compensation insurance for their employees. But did you know that you may have to obtain Workers Compensation insurance for your independent contractors? Workers Compensation insurance is required in circumstances where contractors are classified as workers of an employer.
Taking a proactive approach to workplace health and safety is essential for any business. The consequences – both in ethical and legal terms – of businesses failing to provide a safe workplace is simply too high to be ignored. The main legislation that governs a business’s obligation to maintain a safe workplace is the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic) (‘OHS Act’). WorkSafe is the authority responsible for regulating businesses and enforcing the OHS Act.