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Thousands of unvaccinated employees are allowed to return to work in Australia

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Thousands of unvaccinated employees will be free 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.

Vaccination mandates have kept thousands of Aussies out of work, including those in critical jobs like teaching. Pictured are two nurses getting a Covid jab

Queensland

Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk announced today that residents of Queensland will soon no longer need to be double-vaccinated against Covid-19 to work in schools, childcare facilities, prisons and airports or to visit prisons, aged care and disabled facilities.

She says the changes will take effect next Thursday, June 30 at 1:00 AM.

“Restrictions that have protected us have been relaxed in sensible stages, and today I announce that, on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, we are lifting some of the last remaining Covid restrictions,” she told parliament on Friday.

Ms Palaszczuk said individual employers would still be allowed to continue to hold mandates in schools, nurseries, prisons and airports.

She said the mandates will remain in effect for healthcare workers, hospitals, aged care and disabled care workers.

Queensland will also ditch pre-arrival testing for travelers arriving in the state from overseas.

Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) announced that the state will today cancel Covid-19 vaccine mandates for employees in schools, prisons and airports and visitors to aged care and disabled care

Queensland Prime Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk (pictured) announced that the state will today cancel Covid-19 vaccine mandates for employees in schools, prisons and airports and visitors to aged care and disabled care

As Australia went through the worst of the pandemic, the health minister said there were still a high number of cases across the country

As Australia went through the worst of the pandemic, the health minister said there were still a high number of cases across the country

Victoria

Earlier this week, Victoria’s Prime Minister Dan Andrews announced that the third vaccine mandate for workers in education, quarantine accommodation, food distribution and meat and seafood processing will be lifted on Saturday morning.

However, health and care workers will still need to have at least one booster shot — three doses of vaccine.

Teachers who had received two doses of the Covid-19 vaccine but refused a third injection were placed on leave without pay. Because of this change, they can now go back to work at their last school.

Meanwhile, employees who refused to receive a single dose of the vaccine were officially fired in April this year.

Those teachers can freely apply to their old school or to another school, but they have no right to return.

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (pictured) has announced that unvaccinated teachers will be allowed to go back to class from next week

Victorian Prime Minister Daniel Andrews (pictured) has announced that unvaccinated teachers will be allowed to go back to class from next week

The Andrews administration has also announced that masks will no longer be required in airport terminals from 11:59pm on Saturday, June 24.

Face masks remain mandatory on domestic flights, public transport, shared cars, hospitals and healthcare institutions.

New South Wales

In New South Wales, unvaccinated NSW teachers can be welcomed back into the classroom from next semester as the education department unveils its plan to end vaccine mandates.

Teachers were allowed to return to the classroom and staff from the company’s departments returned to the office as per the plan, after consultation with stakeholders on Friday about its completion within the next two weeks.

When the school returns on July 18, only staff who work in schools with a specific purpose for children with disabilities or who help students from those schools to class should be vaccinated three times.

Incidentally, unvaccinated staff would be reinstated, while teachers who resigned or were fired could apply for advertised positions.

Education department secretary Georgina Harrisson said the plan was subject to an independent workplace risk assessment.

Unvaccinated teachers may be welcomed back into the classroom starting next semester, as the education department unveils plans to cut vaccine mandates for most staff members.  Pictured is NSW Prime Minister Dom Perrottet (pictured) saying lockdowns would be 'definitely' just a last resort

Unvaccinated teachers may be welcomed back into the classroom starting next semester, as the education department unveils plans to cut vaccine mandates for most staff members. Pictured is NSW Prime Minister Dom Perrottet

“We have taken the time it took to come to this position to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff and students is not compromised,” said Ms. Harrisson.

Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet revealed in April that he had asked ministers to ensure that relevant departments conduct risk assessments for potential changes to vaccine mandates.

Nearly 1,000 active casuals could return to classrooms on the first day of semester 3, Ms Harrisson said, but it’s unlikely to have much of an impact on the current staff shortage, which has been attributed to increased sick leave.

Teachers were sick for a total of 430,351 days in the first six months of the year, an increase of 145,491 compared to pre-pandemic and 100,324 in the same period last year.

Improved cleaning and ventilation measures would be maintained and rapid antigen testing would be provided.

For NSW Health personnel, the requirement for health professionals to have at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine continues to apply.

VACCINE REQUIREMENTS BY STATE

Covid vaccinations are completely voluntary across Australia, but the federal government has determined that those who want to work in a high-risk environment must get the shot.

These include areas such as the military and aged care institutions. But rules in each state can vary.

Queensland

Queenslanders will soon no longer need to be double vaccinated against Covid-19 to work in schools, childcare facilities, prisons and airports or to visit prisons, aged care and disabled facilities. Mandates remain in effect for healthcare workers, hospitals, aged care and disabled care workers.

Victoria

The third vaccine mandate for workers in education, quarantine accommodation, food distribution and meat and seafood processing has now been lifted. Workers in the health and care sector will still be required to have at least one booster shot – three doses of vaccine.

New South Wales

Anyone who works at a NSW school or preschool education and care facility must meet mandatory double vaccination requirements to help protect the health and safety of staff and students. However, unvaccinated teachers may be welcomed back into the classroom starting next semester as the education department unveils plans to cut vaccine mandates for most staff members.

For NSW Health personnel, the requirement for health professionals to have at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine continues to apply.

Western Australia

Only people who work in care, elderly care and care for the disabled should be stung. Teachers do not need to be vaccinated.

South Australia

Current guidelines require healthcare workers to receive a third dose to qualify for work, despite the relaxation of rules in other sectors, notably police, education and the transport network.

Northern Territory

Health, disability and elderly care workers are required to get the shot, along with staff working in juvenile detention centers, homeless shelters and domestic violence.

Australian Capital Territory

Healthcare and education workers across Canberra no longer need to be vaccinated against Covid-19. However, vaccination requirements will continue to apply to elderly and disabled workers.

Which companies enforce jab mandates?

Some of the major companies enforcing mandatory employee incentives include Coles, Woolworths, Qantas, Virgin Australia, Telstra, Commonwealth Bank and SPC.

Daily Mail Australia understands that although jab mandates have ended in several states, many other companies and institutions still follow an unofficial no jab, no job policy.

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