National Cabinet has agreed to mandate COVID-19 vaccinations for aged care workers, backed by an $11 million grants program.
*Editor’s note: updated August 10, 2021.
At its last meeting on June 28, the National Cabinet agreed that COVID-19 vaccinations are to be mandated for residential aged care workers as a condition of working in an aged care facility.
This marks the first time the Federal Government has looked to make the vaccine compulsory and follows the actions of some other countries asking workers from certain industries to get the jab.
WA Chief Health Officer Andy Robertson issued a public health order stating that residential aged care workers who go to work unvaccinated face fines of up to $20,000, and non-compliant companies can face up to $100,000 penalties.
The rules come into effect on September 17.
The aim is to have all residential aged care workers vaccinated with at least a first dose by mid-September this year.
The Federal Government is supporting the rollout through an $11m program, to allow aged care workers to attend off-site vaccination centres and GPs.
Under the grants, residential aged care facilities can access funding via the following options:
- Casual staff going off-site for vaccination – a flat fee of $80 payable per staff member, per dose;
- Paid leave for casual staff who become unwell after vaccination and do not have other leave entitlements – one day’s paid leave (at a rate of $185) for up to a quarter of the provider’s total number of casual staff; and
- Facilitation of off-site vaccination for employees – up to $500 per site in flexible vaccination facilitation costs per site, which may be used for activities like transport services, arranging groups of staff to be vaccinated, and or any other reasonable expenses that incentivise staff to get vaccinated.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee would “continue to look at the issue to ensure we do not encounter any unintended consequences as an outcome of this decision”.
The measure is likely to be implemented through a variety of mechanisms depending on each State and territory, in coming weeks.
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For up-to-date information visit our COVID-19 site.
For advice about managing staff during restrictions contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or [email protected].