COVID-19 update - 22 October 2021
This update is in regard to last week’s announcement from the Chief Minister of the next steps in our journey out of the COVID-19 pandemic. As you are aware, a key element of this journey is a new Chief Health Officer (CHO) Direction that makes the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for certain workers (Chief Health Officer COVID-19 Directions (No.55) of 2021 (the CHO Direction).
The CHO Direction require that:
- Workers who fall into one of the identified categories (eg contact with a vulnerable person) must not attend the workplace:
- on and from 13 November 2021, if they have not had one dose of an approved COVID19 vaccine; and
- on and from 25 December 2021, if they have not had two doses of an approved COVID19 vaccine.
- Workers can attend the workplace without having a vaccine if they have medical evidence of a contraindication to all approved vaccines
- Workers, for the purposes of the CHO Directions, include employees, contractors and volunteers (among other categories of worker)
- Reasonable steps must be undertaken to determine the extent to which workers are vaccinated and
- A register must be kept of the extent to which each worker is vaccinated, and the steps taken to ascertain this information.
First of all I want to acknowledge and thank you for all you have done so far for being COVID-safe and getting vaccinated. Given the stats for the Northern Territory it is clear that most of you have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and many of you are already doubly vaccinated.
How does the CHO direction affect you as a NT public servant?
Over the last week considerable thought has been put in to implementation of the CHO Direction. It has become clear that given that nature of our workforce and our customers most, if not all, of our Northern Territory Public Services employees and contractors will need to be vaccinated to attend our workplaces (unless they have an exemption).
Your Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are responsible for implementing the CHO Direction and will shortly advise you of their requirements for your agency.
Requesting and registering employee vaccination status
If you are required to be vaccinated, a key initial step is that CEOs must request employees to provide evidence of their vaccination status, and this information must be registered, a week in advance of the due date.
This will allow time for verifying vaccination evidence and ensuring all is ready in advance of 13 November.
The employee’s evidence can include a completed vaccination appointment slip, or a medical certificate for the first dose, or a digital certificate for full vaccination on a mobile device.
DCDD have rolled out a digital solution using myHR to register an employee’s vaccination status to support the new obligations. It is already available by going to myDetails in myHR.
Employees can enter their vaccination status in myHR and that information will need to be verified by sighting of each employee’s supporting evidence (in a similar way to the management of personal leave and the sighting of medical certificates).
Evidence of vaccination will not be kept or stored.
If you have a vaccination appointment for your first dose scheduled before 13 November it is suggested that you advise your manager.
Paid leave for vaccination appointments and reasonable travel
Employees are entitled to access paid miscellaneous leave for the duration of their medical appointment/s to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and reasonable travel time associated with those appointments. You are encouraged to speak with your manager about accessing this leave and get your vaccination as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of spread, serious illness and death from COVID-19.
Attendance at the workplace on and after 13 November 2021
If an employee is required by their CEO to be vaccinated and has not had their first vaccination by 13 November, they will be unable to return to any workplace covered by the CHO Directions on and after 13 November, until they are vaccinated.
This does not apply to employees who have provided evidence of an exemption in line with the CHO Directions. CEOs will work with those employees who are required to be vaccinated, but have either not been or we don’t know their vaccination status, prior to the 13 November 2021 to ensure they are aware of the requirements and that they will not be able to attend the workplace on and from 13 November 2021.
Thank you for your continued support in managing the implications of COVID-19 and keeping us all safe.
It is important to remember that the best thing we can all do to lower risks to our families, our friends, our workmate and ourselves is to get vaccinated. More information is available at https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/ .
If you have any specific questions about this matter please raise these with your CEO.
Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
Last updated: 08 November 2021
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