What is our policy?
In line with Government mandates and recommendations, from 31 January 2022, all members of our firm, clients, third parties, and visitors attending our offices will need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an accepted medical exemption.
A valid proof of COVID-19 vaccination will need to be provided prior to attending our offices, in one of the following formats:
- Via the ServiceWA app on your mobile device (a screenshot is sufficient);
- COVID-19 digital certificate with an acceptable form of ID on your mobile device or via hard copy;
- Immunisation History Statement with an acceptable form of ID on your mobile device or via hard copy.
We are able to conduct meetings via Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Skype or other electronic means, if you cannot attend our office in person.
Our COVID-19 Vaccination Policy will continue to be informed by any applicable laws, enforceable government directions and advice issued by Commonwealth, State and Territory governments.
In certain limited circumstances, implementing a mandatory vaccination policy may be a reasonably practicable measure that is to be taken by certain employers to help ensure a safe workplace.
When assessing ‘reasonableness’, the following factors have been considered by Meillon & Bright:
- the nature of the workplace (for example, the extent to which our employees need to work in public facing roles, whether social distancing is possible and whether the business is providing an essential service);
- the extent of community transmission of COVID-19 in the location where the direction is to be given, including the risk of transmission of each variant among employees, customers, or other members of the community;
- the effectiveness of vaccines in reducing the risk of transmission or serious illness, including the Delta variant, the Omicron variant and any possible future variants;
- work health and safety obligations;
- each employee’s circumstances, including their duties and the risks associated with their work;
- whether employees have a legitimate reason for not being vaccinated (for example, a medical reason};
- vaccine availability;
- whether employees can work remotely; and
- any other related circumstances.
Meillon & Bright has decided that it is reasonable for our firm to implement a mandatory vaccination policy, for all our employees and visitors to the firm, pursuant to the Health Order.
Meillon & Bright will continually review practices and medical guidance to assess the reasonableness of mandatory vaccinations in line with the above factors.
Where possible, Meillon & Bright will facilitate arrangements for employees to receive vaccinations during work hours to ensure those seeking to be vaccinated can access appropriate medical services.
Why was this policy created?
Meillon & Bright Legal (“Meillon & Bright”) is committed to providing a safe and healthy working environment for all our employees, and all those who come into contact with our firm including vulnerable clients of the firm.
Under Australia’s model WHS laws, employers are required to do all that is reasonably practicable to ensure the health and safety of workers and others at the workplace. This duty extends to the COVID-19 pandemic, where employers are required to eliminate, or if that is not possible, minimise, so far as is reasonably practicable, the risk of exposure to infection from COVID-19 in the workplace both now and into the future.
The ongoing rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations is an additional safety measure being driven by various government bodies, that will assist the community, and organisations, including Meillon & Bright to continue providing a safe and healthy work environment.
Based on the latest health advice, a mandatory vaccination policy for the majority of occupations and workforces, in WA, has been introduced.
The vaccination policy’s phased approach will apply mandatory vaccinations to more industries in WA, as well as a requirement for other workers to be vaccinated to attend work, in the event of a lockdown or similar restrictions.
This policy has been created to outline Meillon & Bright’s safety obligations in response to COVID-19. Specifically, in relation to COVID-19 vaccinations and how these vaccinations interact with the safety systems implemented by Meillon & Bright.
This policy does not replace current COVID Safe workplace policies and is to be read in conjunction with other relevant safety policies and procedures. While COVID-19 vaccinations are a critical step towards ensuring safer workplaces, it is important that physical distancing, good hygiene and regular cleaning and maintenance measures under relevant policies, continue to apply, even if the entire workforce has been vaccinated.
National COVID-19 vaccination rollout
The Australian Government aims to have as many people as possible vaccinated. It is important for employees to stay up to date with relevant health advice. Meillon & Bright assumes no responsibility for any medical choices made by its employees and recommends every employee consult their own GP.
Public health orders
Separate to the eligibility under the National COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout, employees may be covered by Federal and State/Territory government health orders, requiring mandatory vaccinations of employees, in certain settings.
The Western Australian government has now released a Health Order imposing the vaccination mandate as follows:
Group 1 industries and occupations:
First dose by 1 December 2021 and fully vaccinated by 31 December 2021
Group 2 industries and occupations:
First dose by 31 December 2021 and fully vaccinated by 31 January 2022
In the event of a lockdown:
Must be fully vaccinated to attend work during a lockdown or similar restrictions.
Exemptions from the above policy requirements will be considered on a case-by-case basis; for example, exemptions considered on medical grounds for employees who cannot receive the vaccination for health reasons.
Please raise your concerns with Kristie or Matthew, immediately, if you feel you will be unable to comply with the requirements of our policy due a valid exemption status.
Proof of vaccination
Meillon & Bright is authorised by law (under the Public Health Order and where it is necessary for Meillon & Bright to meet their obligations) to request employee and visitor vaccination status prior to entering the offices of Meillon & Bright.
Failure to comply
There are serious repercussions for failing to comply with the current Public Health Order, including a fine of up to $20,000.00 for the individual and a fine of up to $100,000.00 for the employer. This, combined with our obligations to ensure the safety of all our employees and any vulnerable members of the community who have contact with Meillon & Bright, has led us to the following implications for unvaccinated employees:
- An employee who is not fully vaccinated by the specified dates within Group 1, will not be permitted to attend the office until they are fully vaccinated;
- A member employee who is not fully vaccinated at the commencement of any lockdown, will not be permitted to attend the office until they are fully vaccinated;
- In the above circumstances, an employee can utilise their accrued annual leave until that leave has been exhausted. Leave will not be offered in advance, and once the leave is exhausted, the employee will move to leave without pay for a period of up to 3 months or until such time as they are fully vaccinated;
- After the 3-month period, if the employee is still unable to return to work, their employment may be terminated.
If new Health Orders are issued, putting in place new time periods or redefining the Group into which Meillon & Bright falls, the above will apply subject to change.
Our expectations of others
It is important that all staff, contractors and visitors comply with our safety policies and accept responsibility for their individual actions and responsibilities, in helping us achieve a COVIDSafe workplace. This extends to the availability and uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination as outlined in this policy, and all COVIDSafe measures which have been implemented to reduce the spread of the virus.
For any individual who needs to attend Meillon & Bright physical office locations and is not vaccinated, our employees will offer you an appointment by telephone or video conference.