As the race to vaccinate 80% of the Australian population against COVID-19 commences, employers are considering what role they can play to ensure restrictions are eased and employees are safe. While a number of organisations are offering leave to be vaccinated, others are offering additional incentives.
On 27 July 2021, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) granted a Permission allowing employers and others to lawfully provide communications about COVID-19 vaccines to support and encourage the Government's COVID-19 vaccine roll-out (TGA Permission).
The TGA Permission, which will be in place until December 2022, allows businesses to offer vaccine rewards to employees, subject to meeting certain conditions.
The TGA Permission allows employers to offer valuable consideration (cash or other rewards) to people who have been fully vaccinated under the Government's national COVID-19 vaccination program. The offer of rewards to encourage COVID-19 vaccination is allowed provided the offer:
Any communication must be consistent with current Commonwealth health messaging and there cannot be any reference to the trade name, sponsor name or any other information that would identify the particular vaccine. There cannot be any statement comparing vaccines nor any statements to the effect that COVID-19 vaccines cannot cause harm or have no side effects.
Because the TGA Permission does not extinguish the responsibilities that employers have under other relevant employment laws employers should consider what steps they should take to mitigate any risks associated with such an offer. For example, the statement that vaccination must only be undertaken on the advice of a health practitioner must be very clear so that employees do not interpret the offer as advice that they should be vaccinated. In addition, employers will need to seek advice on any anti-discrimination implications of an offer and compliance with privacy laws if health information (such as evidence of vaccination) will be collected.
We can help you navigate the various legal obligations when preparing strategies and communications for COVID-19 vaccination incentives.
 The supply or service of alcohol must comply with Responsible Service of Alcohol requirements.
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