Thousands of unvaccinated staff will be free to to return to work after several Australian states made major changes to vaccine mandates this week.
Here’s a breakdown of the rule changes by state and what it means for your workplace.
Vaccine mandates have kept thousands of Aussies out of work, including those in critical jobs such as teaching. Pictured are two nurses getting a Covid jab
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced today Queenslanders will soon no longer need to be double vaccinated against Covid-19 to work in schools, childcare, prisons and airports or to visit jails, aged care and disability facilities.
She says the changes will come into effect from 1am next Thursday, June 30.
‘Restrictions that have protected us have eased in sensible stages, and today I announce with the advice of the Chief Health Officer, we are removing some of the last remaining Covid restrictions,’ she told parliament on Friday.
Ms Palaszczuk said individual employers will still be allowed to continue mandates in schools, daycare, prisons and airports.
She said mandates will remain in force for workers in healthcare, hospital, aged care and disability care facilities.
Queensland will also dump pre-arrival testing for travellers arriving in the state from overseas.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) announced the state will scrap Covid-19 vaccine mandates for workers in schools, prisons and airports and visitors to aged care and disability care facilities today
While Australia was through the worst of the pandemic, the health minister said there was still a large number of cases across the country
Earlier this week, Victoria’s premier Dan Andrews announced the third vaccine mandate for workers in education, quarantine accommodation, food distribution and meat and seafood processing will be lifted on Saturday morning.
However employees in health and care sectors will still be required to have at least one booster shot – three vaccine doses.
Teachers who had two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine, but refused a third shot had been placed on leave without pay. This change now means they can return to work at their last school.
Meanwhile, staff who refused to have a single dose of the vaccine were officially sacked in April this year.
Those teachers will be free to apply for a job at their old school or at another school, but have no right of return.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews (pictured) announced unvaccinated teachers will be allowed to return to classrooms from next week
The Andrews Government also announced on Saturday masks will no longer be required in airport terminals from 11.59pm on June 24.
Masks will remain mandatory on domestic flights, public transport, rideshare vehicle, hospitals and care facilities.
New South Wales
In New South Wales, unvaccinated NSW teachers could be welcomed back into classrooms from next term as the education department reveals its plan to end vaccine mandates.
Teachers could go back to class and departmental corporate staff return to the office under the plan, after consulting with stakeholders on Friday about finalising it within the next two weeks.
When school returns on July 18, only staff working in specific purpose schools for children with disabilities or who help students at those schools get to class would need to be triple vaccinated.
Casual unvaccinated staff would be allowed back while teachers who resigned or were dismissed would be able to apply for advertised roles.
Education department secretary Georgina Harrisson said the plan was subject to an independent workplace risk assessment.
Unvaccinated teachers could be welcomed back into classrooms from next term as the education department reveals plans to scrap vaccine mandates for most staff. Pictured is NSW premier Dom Perrottet
‘We have taken the time that was needed in coming to this position to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our staff and students would not be compromised’ Ms Harrisson said.
Premier Dominic Perrottet revealed in April he had asked ministers to make sure relevant departments conducted risk assessments for potential changes to vaccine mandates.
Close to 1,000 active casuals could return to classrooms on the first day of term 3, Ms Harrisson said, but it was unlikely to have much impact on current staff shortages, which were attributed to increased sick leave being taken.
Teachers were off sick for a combined 430,351 days in the first six months of the year, up 145,491 compared to pre-pandemic and 100,324 on the same period last year.
Enhanced cleaning and ventilation measures would be retained and rapid antigen tests supplied.
For NSW Health staff, the requirement for health care workers to have at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine continues to apply.
VACCINE MANDATES BY STATE
Covid vaccinations are entirely voluntary across Australia however the federal government has mandated those who wish to work in high-risk settings must get the jab.
These include areas like the military and aged care settings. But rules in each state can vary.
Queenslanders will soon no longer need to be double vaccinated against Covid-19 to work in schools, childcare, prisons and airports or to visit jails, aged care and disability facilities. Mandates will remain in force for workers in healthcare, hospital, aged care and disability care facilities.
The third vaccine mandate for workers in education, quarantine accommodation, food distribution and meat and seafood processing has now been lifted. Employees in health and care sectors will still be required to have at least one booster shot – three vaccine doses.
New South Wales
Anyone working on a NSW school or early education and care site must meet mandatory double vaccination requirements to help protect the health and safety of staff and students. However, unvaccinated teachers could be welcomed back into classrooms from next term as the education department reveals plans to scrap vaccine mandates for most staff.
For NSW Health staff, the requirement for health care workers to have at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine continues to apply.
Only people working in healthcare, age and disability care required to be jabbed. Teachers are not required to be vaccinated.
Under current directions, healthcare employees must have a third dose to be eligible to work despite rules easing in other sectors, notably police, education and the transport network.
Health, disability and aged care workers are required to get the jab, along with staff employed at youth detention centres, homeless and family violence shelters.
Australian Capital Territory
Workers in healthcare and education settings across Canberra are no longer required to be vaccinated against Covid-19. However, vaccination requirements remain in place for workers in aged care and disability settings.
Which companies enforce jab mandates?
Some large corporations which enforce mandatory jabs for workers include: Coles, Woolworths, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Telstra, the Commonwealth Bank and SPC.
Daily Mail Australia understands that although jab mandates have ended in several states, many other companies and institutions are still following an unofficial no jab, no job policy.