Supporting the independent education community

IEU requests vaccination leave in schools




Below is a letter from the IEU sent to all Diocesan Directors.


Dear Director,


I am writing to follow up on a letter the IEU sent to Catholic Employment Relations Ltd earlier this month concerning leave for employees to be vaccinated, and a subsequent phone discussion between the union and CER on 17 June. We have not yet had a response to our request for this leave.


COVID vaccination leave

In the letter and discussion with CER, the union raised the issue of leave for school employees to obtain a COVID vaccination.


As you are aware, employers have a duty of care to eliminate the risk of exposure to

COVID-19 in the workplace or, if that is not practicable, to minimise it. A safe and effective

vaccine is one of a number of control measures that can be used to manage the risk of



The union is seeking one day of paid special leave for each COVID vaccination (a total of two

days). This leave would be additional to existing personal/carer’s leave. We are seeking

these arrangements as members may have difficulty booking a vaccination appointment

outside of school hours.


The union envisages that members who experience an adverse reaction to vaccination

would then be able to access paid personal leave entitlements.


Priority for school employees to be vaccinated

The union also requests that you support our call for employees in schools and early learning centres to be prioritised for vaccination.


This call has been supported by many commentators. Murdoch Children’s Research Institute

vaccine uptake expert, Associate Professor Margie Danchin, said on Monday that the latest

outbreak reinforced the need to prioritise vaccine availability for teachers, “just like we’re

prioritising vaccination for staff in aged care and disability care”.


Safe return to work

Given that the Delta variant of the virus has proved to be far more transmissible than earlier

forms of the virus, particularly among children, our members are extremely concerned

about the circumstances that will confront them when they return to work after the school



In Sydney the following COVID cases have occurred in schools in the past week:

• Emanuel School in Randwick has notified parents of a positive case in a student

• a student at Rose Bay College has tested positive, meaning more than 1300 high school

students and all staff from the school were directed to self-isolate on the first day of

school holidays

• a student at St Charles Catholic Primary School at Waverley has contracted the virus, a

case that has not yet been linked to previous clusters

• Mount Sinai College, a primary school and pre-school in Maroubra, has also informed

parents that a member of the school community has tested positive

• four students have tested positive at South Coogee Primary School with over 550

students and all staff required to isolate.


The union would appreciate discussion about the measures that will be in place. One

particular issue is that schools are currently exempt from the general requirements applying

to mask-wearing in non-residential premises.


I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards


Acting Secretary