More than 45,000 council staff across NSW have been made eligible for special vaccination leave, as local government continue to play a key role in keeping communities safe.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott said the additional leave was part of the special Local Government (COVID-19) Splinter (Interim) Award 2021 secured by the peak body and unions last year.
“Some 105 of the State’s councils have opted into this Award, which makes special vaccination leave available for more than 45,000 council employees,” Cr Scott said.
“This new leave allowance allows council staff to get vaccinated without impacting their regular sick leave.
“Councils are often the dominant employer in their particular area, so their take-up of the vaccine can play a really important role in helping to keep local communities – their friends, families and neighbours – safe and healthy.”
Cr Scott said the leave was another concrete example of the often unsung and unrecognised frontline role played by councils.
“Local government has provided a locally led economic recovery for their communities in the face of multiple crises in the past 18 months, and created new jobs in the process,” she said.
“We don’t want anything to get in the way of that.
“Ensuring our workforce is vaccinated, where they are eligible, ensures a stronger health and economic recovery for NSW, and keeps our communities safe from the threat of COVID.
“Providing leave to allow our workforce to be vaccinated, and to be redeployed where possible when in isolation, is the right thing to do.
“This latest Award outcome will help councils do their bit in the battle against COVID. It will also help keep our valuable council staff safe.”
Cr Scott said while the new arrangement would make it easy for a council worker to take the necessary time off to get vaccinated, no one would be forced to get vaccinated.
“For most people, getting the vaccine should be possible within 2-3 hours. Without seeking to infringe on individual circumstances and personal choice, councils will generally be encouraging all staff to get vaccinated,” Cr Scott said.