From the Commissioner
As many of you would know, the Queensland Government has announced some restrictions will start to apply for certain business types and for unvaccinated people on 17 December. In short, only vaccinated staff and customers will be permitted at businesses offering non-essential leisure activities. In return, these businesses will be able to resume operating at full capacity. You can read the plan here.
We have received a number of enquiries from businesses seeking answers regarding the announced changes, most commonly:
- which businesses and situations the changes apply to;
- how this effects working arrangements; and
- information about privacy implications regarding provision of vaccination status proof.
For those in the healthcare industry, please note that from 15 December it will be mandatory for healthcare workers in a healthcare setting to be vaccinated. In this instance it is workers only, not clients, who have to be vaccinated.
Information is being made available by multiple agencies, but like always, if you don’t know where to look – it can be hard to find the answers you need. We have collated the list of key information and links to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) that we use to help businesses navigate the changes.
The information on these websites is being updated regularly to reflect the questions and feedback from small businesses that is being raised by us and other small business support crew like industry associations, CCIQ, chambers and local councils. So we encourage you to check these important links regularly to ensure you have the latest information.
I hope you find this helpful. If you have questions, I encourage you to look through the below links or contact our office with an online enquiry.
Queensland Small Business Commissioner
Queensland Health have released an overview and FAQs covering what this change will mean for Queensland businesses from 17 December. The most common questions to our office, that are addressed on this site, include:
- Can non-essential leisure businesses opt to continue with density restrictions and stay open for unvaccinated staff and customers?
- What services and activities are going to be restricted for unvaccinated people, and why?
- Can the owner of an essential business (not mandated to only serve double vaccinated patrons) decide not to permit entry to unvaccinated patrons or staff?
- Can unvaccinated service providers or contractors go into a restricted business?
The Queensland Government has also published:
- steps to add your proof of vaccination to the Check In Qld app; and
- information on how a business can check the vaccination status of customers.
For workers in healthcare settings, any worker in healthcare who enters, works in or performs services in a healthcare setting is required to be fully vaccinated by 15 December. An overview and FAQs have been published, including answers to common questions such as:
- Who is considered a worker in healthcare?
- Can I continue to work in a healthcare setting if I am not fully vaccinated by 15 December 2021?
- The healthcare setting I manage is experiencing critical shortages of workers, and I am having difficulty finding vaccinated workers, what should I do?
The Fair Work Ombudsman
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has released FAQs for employers and employees re vaccinations. This includes the top questions received by FWO, such as:
- I am an employer and a public health order requiring vaccination applies to my business. What are my obligations to comply?
- There is no public health order that applies to the business. Can vaccination be mandated?
Can employees be asked to provide evidence of their vaccination status?
FWO has also published:
- more detailed guidance on COVID-19 vaccinations in the workplace; and
- list of other states with employee vaccination mandates – handy for businesses with employees working in multiple states, or peak bodies trying to provide navigation across multiple states.
Safe Work Australia
Safe Work Australia have developed guidance to help answer questions such as:
- Do I need to include mandatory vaccination as a control measure to comply with my WHS duties?
- Can my workers refuse to come to work because another worker isn’t vaccinated?
- Some of my workers cannot be vaccinated because of medical conditions. How do I protect my unvaccinated workers from COVID-19?
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland
Workplace Health and Safety Queensland have published a template to help businesses develop a risk management plan for COVID-19.
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner
The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner has published privacy guidance for businesses collecting COVID-19 vaccination information. Following their 9 step process will assist businesses to determine:
- whether they can ask their customers/visitors to show evidence of vaccination;
- if they are able to collect this information; and
- their privacy obligations when handling the information.