The COVID Vaccine rollout has raised a lot of questions for both employers and employees. The Fair Work Ombudsman has endeavoured to answer many of these questions to assist employers and employees understand their rights and obligations. Their advice can be found here.

This information attempts to answer the question, can an employer require an employee to be vaccinated?

Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to this as it depends on a range of factors including, what is lawful and reasonable, the nature of the workplace if there are vulnerable people, contact with the public etc.

Directions to vaccinate must be lawful and reasonable. To determine this, employers should consider;

  • The nature of their workplace e.g., if employees interact with the public or have the ability to social distance.
  • The duties their employees perform e.g., if they are working in health, regularly come into contact with vulnerable people, or are required to engage face to face with members of the public.
  • Each state’s specific safety obligations.
  • If employees are eligible to receive a vaccine.
  • If community transmission is in the location where you are conducting business.
  • If employees have a valid reason not to be vaccinated e.g., medical, religious or age-based grounds.

Please see the Fair Work Ombudsman’s website for detailed information, and questions and answers.

If you have questions about vaccination and want advice personalised to your business, contact us on (08) 9316 9896, or email

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Written by Danielle McNamee

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