The Victorian COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions (No 2) came into effect at 11:59pm yesterday, updating the directions previously issued on 8 October 2021.

The Directions affect employers and some additional workers from today. All Victorian employers should be aware of the changes that may impact on the requirement for their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in order to work outside their home.

Notably the vaccination requirements now apply to Victorian Local Government employees.

The Directions

The Direction extends the categories of workers who are required to be vaccinated to work outside the home. If a worker who is captured by Directions is scheduled to work outside the home on or after today, they must have already had their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccination or have a booking for that dose no later than 22 October 2021.

From and including today, an employer of a worker captured under the Directions must not permit a worker who is unvaccinated to work for that employer outside the worker’s ordinary place of residence. There are exemptions for emergency situations. A breach of this provision is punishable with a fine of up to $109,044.

An employer must also, as soon as reasonably practicable after the commencement of these Directions, inform each worker of the effect of the Directions. This obligation does not apply if the employer has previously notified the worker of the matters under the previous COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination (Workers) Directions.

An additional exceptional circumstance has been added that applies to education workers involved in assessments under the Victorian Certificate of Education or International Baccalaureate.

Which categories of workers are now included in the Directions?

Ongoing vaccination requirements

The Age has also reported that the Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley, in talking about mandatory vaccination of workers stated today that ‘if you think that the expiration of these current orders will see that obligation mysteriously vanished, it will be in place for a substantial period of time, well into 2022.’ He is reported to have said ‘We have to deliver those booster shots. We have to continue to make sure that as we open up internationally, we have in place restrictions and safeguards ... that return us to the kind of lifestyle that we had, as close as possible [to] pre-pandemic, but it has to be done safely… And the key to that safety is being double dose vaccinated. And if you choose to place yourself outside of that system, then you have to be prepared to wear the consequences of your actions [are].’

For more information on the previous version of the Directions please read our earlier article.

The information above is based on the Directions released in Victoria to date. This is a rapidly changing area, with the Chief Health Officer indicating that the application and implications of directions are reviewed daily. Accordingly, employers should continually assess their rights and obligations.