This paper provides general legal guidance about what actions QCOSS member organisations can do in relation to the COVID-19 vaccination in order to protect service users, comply with the law, respect their employees and ensure their decisions respect the human rights of service users and employees. Speakers from Clayton Utz discussed the advice at a QCOSS webinar on 30 November, which is now also available on demand.
The question of what an organisation ‘can do’ in relation to vaccination involves a consideration of whether the COVID-19 vaccine can or should be mandated for the workforce, and potentially service users who attend at the workplace.
In determining whether to mandate a vaccination, each organisation will need to consider:
- their duties and obligations under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (Qld) (WHS Act) which includes the requirement to protect the health and safety of workers and other people by eliminating or minimising workplace risks so far as is reasonable practicable;
- the application of any relevant Queensland Government mandates requiring employees and visitors to be fully vaccinated; and
- whether the Organisation can issue a lawful and reasonable direction to mandate vaccinations in the absence of a government directive mandating the vaccination.
This paper sets out the considerations for each Organisation in order to answer the question of whether or not to mandate the vaccination in their workplace. It is a balancing exercise that needs to take into account:
- the extent of the risk;
- the alternatives available; and
- the nature and type of the Organisation in question – including how work is conducted/should be conducted. Each of these factors go towards understanding what is reasonably practicable in the circumstances.
This paper provides general guidance and the specific requirements of each organisation have not been considered in its drafting. Please note that this document does not constitute individual legal advice for organisations.