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Government brokers agreement with employer groups to support vaccine rollout

Media Release

Government, employer groups and unions have come together to discuss how they can work together to support the COVID-19 vaccination rollout to millions of Australians.

Following a roundtable hosted by the Attorney-General’s Department and the Department of Health, employers confirmed they are united in recognising that workplaces are an important setting for reinforcing public health information on vaccines and that vaccinations are the quickest way out of lockdowns and getting through the pandemic.

Recognising that every business is different and has different capability, employer peaks committed to encouraging their members to have regular conversations with their workers in line with government health advice. These conversations will cover how to best support employees and make it as easy as possible for those who choose to get the vaccine to get it when it is their turn, whether this is by providing access to paid or unpaid leave, flexible hours or otherwise.

The employer groups included the Australian Industry Group, the Australian Chamber of Commerce, Business Council of Australia and Council of Small Business Organisations Australia.

“I want to thank the business community for working so constructively, keeping Australians employed through this pandemic, and ensuring our economic recovery continues,” said the Attorney-General and Minister for Industrial Relations, Michaela Cash.

“Rather than playing politics with vaccinations, the Morrison Government is working positively and constructively with business groups and leaders to encourage every Australian who can, to get vaccinated. This is because the business community knows that their survival and the fate of millions of jobs depends on Australians getting vaccinated as soon as possible.”

From today, these groups, who represent businesses that employ more than 7.5 million Australians, will now disseminate this information and advocacy to their employees.

Since the vaccine rollout commenced in February, the Australian Government has made a wide range of guidance available to help businesses and workers to understand their rights and obligations in relation to workplace vaccination, helping them make informed decisions about how they might choose to approach COVID-19 vaccination in their workplace.  

Participants noted the important role that workplaces can play in promoting and facilitating vaccination, and agreed to work together to ensure businesses have easy access to a comprehensive resource kit to assist them with communicating the benefits of vaccination with their workers.

Guidance on workplace vaccination is available from Safe Work Australia and the Fair Work Ombudsman.