Vaccination risks to consider now we’re open

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 [email protected] for more information or to schedule time with a member of our hospitality-focused insurance experts.