As NSW hospitality venues re-open and regulations regarding vaccinations are introduced, it's essential to consider any associated risk that could come from COVID-19 vaccinations
Are vaccinations mandatory?
The NSW government has made proof of vaccination mandatory for all staff and visitors of venues through a Public Health Order. However, that only applies until 1st December. The NSW Government roadmap suggests that vaccinations will not be required for patrons or visitors of hospitality venues after that date.
Can you reasonably ask staff for their vaccine status?
Guidance by the OAIC suggests that employers should only collect and use information about the vaccination status of their employees in limited circumstances. Furthermore, this can only be done with the employees' consent and only if the data is necessary for the functions and activities of the business.
Secure storage of personal data is essential
Data breaches and cyber-attacks are an increasing reality of operating a business. It's therefore critical to ensure vaccination status is compliant with the collection and storage of other employee information. Remember, cyber insurance can act as a failsafe to protect a business from unexpected cyber breaches.
Can you stop unvaccinated workers from returning in December?
While there is no legal requirement to be vaccinated from 1st December, it may be a business policy adopted within your business. Fair Work Ombudsman has guidelines to help businesses assess if it might be fair and reasonable to mandate vaccinations based on the worker's level of potential exposure to the virus.
Injuries arising from vaccinations
If medical complications arise from having had the COVID-19 vaccine and where the employer has mandated it, it may be considered an illness arising during employment. A claim for worker's compensation will be assessed against various factors, but the relationship between the workplace and how an injury originated during work plays a significant role in evaluating liability.
How can you protect yourself from discrimination claims?
Employers should assess non-vaccinated employees on a case-by-case basis to mitigate the risks of employee claims of discrimination, unfair dismissal, or unlawful adverse action. Discrimination claims would likely fall within the cover provided by a typical Employment Practices Liability policy.
Need more advice?
Operating a business has never been more challenging and having suitable insurance against a growing range of risks is more important now than ever.
We are here to help; contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to schedule time with a member of our hospitality-focused insurance experts.