Victorian businesses disturbed by reports of new vax rules that may shut operations

“Reports that the Victorian Government will make a late call that all staff need to be double vaccinated in businesses eligible to reopen this Friday has created extra confusion and serious uncertainty for business operators,” Tim Piper, Victorian Head of the peak employer association Ai Group said today.

“The decision represents a clear double standard for business when it comes to the vaccination status of their employees.

“Authorised workers had been given until November 26 to ensure they are double vaccinated and they thought they could work with a single vaccination until then.

“However, there are now reliable reports that, at least for some, only those with a double-dose will be able to turn up for work when they open. That’s impossible, especially for companies employing younger workers

“Those businesses across retail, hospitality, hardware and other sectors, have been given less than three days to ensure all their staff are double vaccinated.

“Businesses were already restricted by severe limits on their reopening operating capacity. The sudden demands from the Government on staff vaccination status will simply mean many shops, stores, hairdressers, restaurants, cafes and other sites that were planning to reopen on Friday will not be able to do so.

“Victoria was already taking deeply cautious small steps out of lockdown. This directive, if it goes ahead, will only ensure the pace of recovery will be slower.

“It is worth repeating our advice that it is important that all employees and unions recognise that employers have no option other than to comply with the Victorian Government’s public health direction. If an employee arrives at work in breach of the public health direction, the employer needs to send the employee home. Employees are not entitled to be paid unless they agree to take any accrued annual leave or long service leave. To be entitled to payment an employee needs to be ‘ready, willing and able’ to work, and unvaccinated employees are not able to work,” Mr Piper said.

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