Supporting the independent education community

IEU NSW/ACT Branch Position Statement on Mandatory Vaccinations


Friday 27 August 2021


Dear Members,


The IEU, along with the rest of the union movement and other civic organisations, supports the concept of public health and acknowledges the role of vaccinations in reducing COVID-19 at work and preventing serious illness.


The IEU has consistently advocated for staff in early childhood centres and schools to be prioritised in the national vaccine rollout and welcomes the announcement from the government confirming this is to commence from the week beginning 6 September.


The NSW Education Minister’s press release on 27 August states that vaccinations will be required from 8 November for all school staff across all sectors.


Members should be aware that employers will be legally obligated to comply with public health orders. The IEU will advise members they must comply with those orders. It is not yet clear what exemptions will be available under the public health orders.


We appreciate that some of our members have concerns about COVID-19 vaccines and/or about the mandating of those vaccines to return to work.


The IEU will assist members who are unable to obtain a vaccination. The IEU will work towards ensuring that members are not disadvantaged through the imposition of unrealistic deadlines or vaccine supply problems. The union will also seek to ensure that consideration is given to appropriate alternative measures and approaches both by the NSW government and independent school employers.


An employee who chooses not to follow public health orders, without significant extenuating circumstances, will be putting their employment at risk. There are no constitutional rights or anti-discrimination laws that protect an employee in such circumstances.


In the case of members electing not to be vaccinated in contravention of the public health orders, assistance from the union is likely to be limited to exploring options for redeployment or leave, or the consideration of alternative methods of compliance with the applicable public health order.


Members who have a medical exemption from receiving vaccines should contact the IEU if they are experiencing issues in negotiating redeployment options.


The union will continue providing advice to members in respect of any emerging employment law as the public health crisis evolves.


Mark Northam


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