TACKLING COVID-19 VACCINATION HESITANCY IN THE WORKPLACE
As an Employer, it’s a good idea to encourage Employees to get Vaccinated for COVID-19, both for the health of your Workplace and to help end lockdowns and restrictions.
What do you do if there is a general reluctance or delay, with Employees getting the COVID-19 Vaccine? Here are some suggested positive steps you can take.
Education is critical and important for Workplace culture. Resistance may come from a lack of information or language barriers. Employees put it off because they have unanswered questions or are unsure of the risks.
The Vaccine is unsuitable for some Employees, particularly those with a valid reason not to receive the Vaccine, such as exemptions on medical grounds.
It is recommended that you encourage Employee/s to seek advice from a Health Practitioner about their reason for deciding not to get the COVID Vaccination. A Health Practitioner should be able to provide an Employee with scientific information about the development of Vaccines, their risks and answer any questions.
Rights and Obligations
Refer Employee/s to the Fair Work Ombudsman website, www.fairwork.gov.au, where they can find out their rights in relation to Vaccinations and any Public Health Orders that are in place. Employers and Employees need to comply with any Public Health Orders that apply to them.
Give Employees Time Off
The Fair Work Ombudsman says it’s not compulsory to give Employees time off to get Vaccinated. However, Full Timers and Part Timers may use their paid Sick Leave if they feel unwell afterwards.
A number of Australian Businesses have started offering Employees paid Leave to attend a Vaccination appointment that is scheduled during rostered Hours.
LAUNCESTON EATERIES FACE FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN AUDITS
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) has been making surprise visits to Restaurants, Cafes and Fast-Food Outlets and Hospitality venues in and around Launceston this week, to check that Workers are getting the right Pay and Entitlements.
About 30 Businesses face audits across greater Launceston region, with Fair Work Inspectors speaking with Business Owners, Managers and Employees on the ground.
The FWO has advised that any Workers with concerns should contact the FWO directly for free advice and assistance.
A company can face a court-ordered penalty of up to $33,300 for a Compliance Notice Breach and up to $66,600 for a Record-Keeping Breach. Individuals can be penalised up to $6,660 for a Compliance Notice Breach and up to $13,320 for a Record-Keeping Breach.
FAIR WORK OMBUDSMAN – MORE THAN $148 MILLION RECOVERED FOR WORKERS
The Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) recovered $148,374,054 for 69,735 Underpaid Workers in 2020-21 – a record sum of back paid Wages and Entitlements.
FWO Sandra Parker said that significant Underpayments from large corporate entities had remained a challenge for the agency over the past year.
“All Employers, especially large corporate entities, must place a much higher priority on investing in Payroll and Workplace Relations Systems and expertise, to ensure they are paying Workers their lawful Entitlements.” Ms Parker said.
– The FWO entered into 19 Enforceable Undertakings with Businesses;
– More than $81.7 million was back paid following extensive Investigations and Enforceable Undertakings negotiated with the FWO;
– There were 76 new litigations, 41 per cent more than in 2019-20;
– The FWO secured more than $2.8 million in court ordered Penalties, of which more than $2 million were in matters involving migrant workers, who can be vulnerable to Workplace exploitation;
– The FWO continued to increase its use of enforcement tools, issuing 2,025 Compliance Notices, which led to recoveries of more than $16.5 million in unpaid Wages and Entitlements.
– FWO Inspectors also issued 513 Infringement Notices (total fines of more than $518,000).
It is an opportune time to check that your Business is compliant, with current Employment Law. Employers should ensure that you are paying your Employees correctly, or risk backpay and potentially prosecution. Please contact us if you have any enquiries or require assistance.
When you are up to date with Employment Law, you will have peace of mind knowing you are compliant – so you can focus on the important things like looking after your Customers and making money in your Business.
IF YOU NEED ANY ADVICE REGARDING THE CONTENTS OF THIS NEWSLETTER, OR ANY OTHER WORKPLACE RELATIONS MATTER, PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CONTACT US.