COVID-19 update - 5 November 2021
On Friday 22 October 2021 I wrote to all NTPS employees following the announcement from the Chief Minister of the next steps in the Territory’s journey out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A big thank you
First of all I want to thank those who have updated their vaccination status records so far with close to 80% of you having done so already.
I also want to say thanks to all you have done for being COVID-safe and getting vaccinated to make our workplaces safer. A majority of Territorians have now had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and many of you are already doubly vaccinated.
Now, a reminder
Last night’s decision to lockdown Katherine and lockout some people (due to their vaccination status) in the Greater Darwin region due to community transmission of COVID-19 is a big reminder to us all about why we are implementing the mandatory vaccination rules for our workforce.
I take this opportunity to remind those who are yet to update their vaccination status records to please do so or, speak to your manager about your circumstances, by close of business today, Friday 5 November 2021. Just go to myHR and fill in the on-line form.
This includes anyone who has to date received only their first vaccination dose. It’s really important that you let us know that you’ve had your first vaccination dose.
As you are aware, a key element of this journey is a new Chief Health Officer (CHO) Directions (No. 55) that makes the COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for certain workers to attend the workplace (Chief Health Officer COVID-19 Directions (No.55) of 2021 (the CHO Direction)). The CHO Direction requires that:
- Workers who fall into one of the four identified categories (eg likely to come into contact with a vulnerable person) must not attend the workplace:
- For the period starting on 13 November 2021 and ending on 24 December 2021, if they have not received one dose of an approved COVID19 vaccine and
- On and from 25 December 2021, if they have not received two doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine
- Workers can attend the workplace without being vaccinated with an approved COVID-19 vaccine if they provide evidence of a contraindication to all COVID-19 approved vaccines (i.e. a medical certificate or certificate issued by the Commonwealth, as required by the CHO Direction)
- Workers, for the purposes of the CHO Direction, include employees, contractors and volunteers (among other categories of worker)
- Reasonable steps must be undertaken by the employer, or other person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU) for whom the workers perform work, to determine the extent to which workers are vaccinated and
- A register must be kept by the person in control of a business or undertaking (PCBU) of the extent to which each worker is vaccinated, and the steps taken to ascertain this information.
How does the CHO directions affect you as a Northern Territory public service (NTPS) employee?
If you’re unclear about the CHO Direction applying to you in your role as a NTPS employee, please speak to your manager urgently.
Given that broad and diverse nature of our workforce and our customers in our community, it is expected that all of our NTPS employees will need to be vaccinated to continue attending our workplaces from 13 November 2021 (unless an individual has a medically approved contraindication to receiving any available COVID-19 vaccine).
Requesting and registering employee vaccination status
Your Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) are responsible for implementing the CHO Direction in each NTPS Agency and have issued directions to NTPS employees to provide evidence of their vaccination status by 5 November 2021. This information must be registered on myHR.
This timeframe enables time for your vaccination evidence to be verified and ensure that all is ready in advance of 13 November 2021 so we can keep the Territory running smoothly. Evidence can include a completed vaccination appointment slip, or a medical certificate for the first dose, or a digital certificate on a mobile device for full vaccination.
If there is any technical difficulty or other reason preventing you from entering your vaccination information into myHR, or if you have entered your information, but are yet to provide evidence, or receive a response from your manager, please advise your manager as soon as possible.
This includes information such as you having a vaccination appointment for your first dose scheduled after 5 November 2021. If you have received your first dose, and are scheduled to receive your second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, you are responsible for completing the second dose information in myHR as soon as you have received the second dose, in order to fulfil your legal obligation in full, prior to 24 December 2021.
Attendance at the workplace on and after 13 November 2021
Your manager/supervisor will be responsible for following up with you in the coming days if your CEO has not received your vaccination status in accordance with the CEO’s directions. This is so CEOs can then consider next steps if any employee is unable to return to their workplace in accordance with the CHO Direction.
If you have not had your first COVID-19 vaccination by 13 November 2021, you will be unable to return to any workplace covered by the CHO Direction on and from that date, until you are vaccinated. This does not apply to employees who have provided evidence of an exemption in line with the CHO Direction. CEOs and managers will work with those employees who are required to be vaccinated, but have not been, or if their vaccination status is not known, prior to 13 November 2021 to ensure they are aware of (and able to comply with) the requirements. If this is not resolved prior to 13 November 2021, these employees will not be able to attend the workplace on and from 13 November 2021 and will receive notification from their CEO confirming this.
Paid leave for vaccination appointments and reasonable travel
You are entitled to access paid miscellaneous leave for the duration of your 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 getting your vaccination as soon as possible. This will reduce the risk of spread, serious illness and death in the event of COVID-19 outbreak in the Territory .
If you have any specific questions about this matter please raise these with your CEO.
Thank you for your continued support in managing the risks of COVID-19 in the workplace and keeping us all safe.
It is important to remember that the best thing we can all do to lower the risks of COVID-19 to our families, our friends, our workmate and ourselves is to get vaccinated. More information is available at https://coronavirus.nt.gov.au/
Vicki Telfer PSM
Commissioner for Public Employment
Last updated: 08 November 2021
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