Mandatory vaccinations: Can I collect my employees’ private information?

Victorian workers are soon to be back on-site, according to the Government Roadmap. Mandatory vaccinations are required for most people returning to the workplace under Government Directions released on Thursday 7 October 2021. This article summarises what information you need to collect, and how your business can ensure legal compliance.

 

What are the mandatory vaccination requirements?

  • Under the Directions, businesses including those in retail and hospitality must not allow unvaccinated workers on-site on or after 15 October 2021.
  • However, unvaccinated workers who are booked to receive first dose by 22 October 2021 are allowed on-site between 15 and 22 October 2021.

 

What information do I need to collect from employees?

Employers must collect, record and hold vaccination information about their workers if they are scheduled to work on-site after 15 October 2021. Employers do not need to obtain employee consent to collect this information to comply with privacy laws, as the information is required and authorised by the Government Directions.

 

What does ‘vaccination information’ mean?

Vaccination information is whether a worker is

  • unvaccinated;
  • partially vaccinated (one dose);
  • fully vaccinated (two doses);
  • booked to receive their first dose;
  • booked to receive their second dose; and/or
  • medically exempt from receiving a COVID-19 vaccine, with proof.

 

What do I need to tell my employees?

It is recommended that you provide written notification to employees that, under the law and Government Directions, you:

  • intend to collect, record and hold their vaccination information;
  • intend to use the vaccination information only in relation to their employment and not for any other purpose;
  • will disclose their vaccination to Authorised Officers as required upon request; and
  • will not permit unvaccinated employees to work on-site unless exempt.

 

What if an employee refuses to provide their vaccination status?

Under the Directions, a worker who refuses to provide their vaccination status must be treated as an unvaccinated worker and is not permitted to return on-site after 15 October 2021. Employers may wish to incentivise their employees to get vaccinated by providing paid leave on their vaccination date or other benefits. Generally, if employees refuse to get vaccinated as an inherent requirement of the role, this may give rise to potential termination.

 

What are the consequences for not complying with mandatory vaccination requirements as a business?

Consequences for non-compliance can set your business back up to 600 penalty units ($109,044).

 

Key takeaways

  • Mandatory vaccinations are required for most workers under the Victorian Government Roadmap
  • Generally, businesses must not allow unvaccinated workers to return on-site after 15 October 2021.
  • Businesses must collect vaccination information of employees, including their vaccination status and whether they have booked in to receive the vaccine.
  • Businesses should inform their employees of their requirement to collect, record and hold their vaccination information under the law and Government Directions.

 

Gladwin Legal are experts in compliance and employment law. If you would like to know how we can help, please contact us at or 1300 033 934.