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COVID cheat sheet for NSW employers – all you need to know

Lisa Qiu ||

Laws about who needs to isolate, vaccination requirements, working from home etcetera are constantly changing.

Here’s a snapshot of what NSW employer’s need to know:

  • In NSW, approx. 41% of people over 16 years have had their booster shot.
  • You do not need a booster shot to meet the NSW Health definition of “fully vaccinated”. Watch this space as this may change.
  • It is up to employers as to whether they are allowing employees to continue working from home, and whether they are allowing unvaccinated employees to return to work in the office. However, it is recommended that employees continue working from home where reasonable.
  • Masks in offices are back for now.
  • Employers are able to mandate the vaccine, and any boosters, so long as it is reasonable for the employer to do so, taking into account various factors such as the nature of their industry, the roles their employees are required to perform, the extent of exposure to vulnerable persons etcetera.
  • Recent court cases are telling us that it is important for employers to ensure they engage in genuine consultation with their employees, especially before making any decisions about standing down/terminating an unvaccinated employee.
  • Whilst the NSW government has generally left it up to employers to decide what is reasonable in each workplace, outside the workplace, the NSW government has made it clear that vaccinated and unvaccinated people can enjoy essentially the same freedoms.
  • Rapid antigen tests are acceptable as proof of infection.
  • Infected employees, should continue to isolate for 7 days. Exemptions may apply for different industries.
  • Employers only need to notify SafeWork NSW if an employee is hospitalised or dies from COVID-19.
  • Employers should notify other employees/contractors that attended the same work site as the infectious person, that there was a positive case and to monitor for symptoms, but other employees do not need to self-isolate.
  • Employers may not necessarily need to shut down business premises for deep cleaning.

If you need assistance with managing COVID-19 workplace related issues, contact our Employment and Migration Team.

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