Two federal workplace authorities have now confirmed that employers will only be able to insist upon vaccination against COVID-19 in very limited circumstances.

Further, it has been made clear that vaccinated employees may be lawfully required to work alongside other workers who are not vaccinated.

Safe Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman have both launched information pages on their websites, each of which has a slightly different focus.

The materials from SWA focus on whether vaccination is a reasonably practicable control measure for the management of workplace risks associated with COVID-19. The FWO page provides guidance regarding the circumstances under which a direction to be vaccinated might be lawful and reasonable.

This guidance material serves as a useful resource for employers, but also emphasises that any disputes will ultimately turn upon the specific circumstances in question. Both regulators have emphasised the desirability of attempting to consult and cooperate with employees at an early stage if concerns arise.

For a deeper look at the considerations that will apply to particular workplace circumstances, please read our other recent article on COVID-19 vaccinations.