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Vaccines for staff — the juvenile dimension

By Hugh Halloran

A common question for employers, particularly in the retail and hospitality sectors, is whether the mandatory vaccination directions apply to workers under the age of 18.

The Critical Business Worker (Restriction on Access) Directions, which cover supermarkets, bakers, restaurants and cafes, require all relevant workers to be partially vaccinated (first dose) by January 1, 2022, and fully vaccinated (second dose) by February 1, 2022.

The Directions do not include any exclusions based on an employee’s age, which means these requirements will also apply to juniors.

Permission and procedural fairness

Be aware, however, that children who are 15 and under cannot consent to receiving vaccine doses without parental permission. If you employ staff who are under 18, you should seek advice.

It is likely you will have additional obligations, particularly for those employees under 16.

Regardless of who makes the decision on refusing a vaccination, if it happens, junior employees need to be afforded procedural fairness as they — or their parents — could have legitimate reasons, such as genuine medical grounds, that need to be considered.

“The best way to be prepared for these circumstances will be to seek advice on your specific situation and to have a carefully prepared vaccination policy,” Martin recommends.

 

Learn more: Business guides to vaccinations

For general advice and guidance, contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or advice@cciwa.com.

For legal advice specific to your situation, contact our team of Workplace Relations lawyers on (08) 9365 7746 or via BusinessLawWA@cciwa.com. 

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