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Update: 6 September 2021

From Department of Communities and Justice

The Department of Communities and Justice emailed the below advice to NGO service providers about the latest COVID-19 restrictions and how they apply to the sector. For other information related to the sector, view the NCOSS COVID-19 Community Sector Resource.

Vaccination deadline extended to 19 September for authorised workers from LGAs of concern

Following changes to the Public Health Order on Sunday 5 September NSW Health advised the timeframe for authorised workers living in LGAs of concern to get vaccinated to leave their LGA has been extended. Authorised workers now have until the end of 19 September 2021 to receive at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, provided they have booked their vaccination by the end of Wednesday 8 September 2021.

A reminder that authorised workers include staff who work for non-government organisations contracted by DCJ to deliver services in: child protection, including out-of-home care and child and family services; homelessness and housing services, including community housing providers; and disability services.

The extended deadline means from 20 September, authorised workers from the LGAs of concern must have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine to continue to work outside the LGA they live.

Authorised workers who are not yet vaccinated will have until the end of Wednesday 8 September 2021 to book their vaccination. From 9 September, authorised workers will be required to carry evidence of their booking if they leave their LGA for work.

The requirement also applies to care workers, aged 16 and over, who work or live in an LGA of concern. This includes childcare workers and disability support workers.

Workers from the LGAs of concern are offered priority bookings for vaccination.

Please use the following links for priority bookings:

More information

We’re actively monitoring the COVID-19 situation and we’ll continue to provide regular updates. The NSW Government COVID-19 website is the best place to keep informed on what you need to know about the current situation.

We’re regularly updating information on the DCJ COVID-19 latest updates and DCJ program specific advice webpages. This includes COVID-19 CALD resources in community languages and practice guidance for virtual home visits.

We’re here to support you. If you need help, please contact your contract manager or email us at COVID19.Support@facs.nsw.gov.au

From NSW Health

NSW Health emailed the below advice to members of the COVID-19 NGO Community of Practice about the latest Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021 requiring health care workers to be vaccinated with 1 dose by 30 September and 2 doses by 30 November. For other information related to the sector, view the NCOSS COVID-19 Community Sector Resource.

Thank you for contacting [NSW Health] with your queries about the Public Health (COVID-19 Vaccination of Health Care Workers) Order 2021.

We sought advice on how the Order applies to health care workers working for NGOs that are funded by NSW Health. Legal has clarified the following.

In summary the Order applies to Health funded NGOs if they or their staff are delivering services for a Public Health Organisation.

The relevant clauses in the Order are:

health care worker means each of the following— (a) a person who does work, including as a member of staff of the NSW Health Service, for any of the following— (i) a public health organisation within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1997, (ii) the Health Administration Corporation, (iii) the Ambulance Service of NSW, (b) a registered paramedic who does work involving transporting, or assessing whether to transport, persons to or from a hospital or public health facility, including any treatment incidental to the work, (c) a member of staff of the Ministry of Health, (d) a person who does work at a private health facility

Work is however broadly defined: the Order stating it includes (a) work done under a contract of service or a contract for services, including work done by a visiting practitioner within the meaning of the Health Services Act 1997, and (b) work done as a volunteer or by or for a charitable organisation, and (c) work done by a student on a student placement, and (d) work done on a temporary basis, including while acting in or filling an office or other role because of a vacancy or absence.

If therefore someone is “working” for a Public Health Organisation , including under a contract or as a charitable organisation, they would be covered. This means that health care workers include workers in NGO services if an NGO has a contract with NSW Health to deliver services OR the work is by or for a charitable organisation.

Managing Mandatory Vaccine Policy for NSW-based Community Organisations

The circumstances when a community organisation can require their workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 are fast-changing and can be difficult to understand.

In response to recent NSW Government announcements relating to mandatory vaccines for workers in areas of concern, Justice Connect hosted a free special webinar on Friday 3 September which is now available to watch on demand. Click here to view the webinar: https://nfplaw.org.au/managing-mandatory-vaccine-policy-nsw-based-community-organisations-free-webinar

Please note: NSW Government has pushed back the mandatory vaccine deadline - find out more

This free 30-minute webinar covers:

  • the circumstances when an organisation can introduce a mandatory vaccine policy;
  • what the recent public health orders mean for community organisations with workers in NSW’s areas of concern;
  • when a direction to be vaccinated would be lawful and reasonable; and
  • situations when an organisation should seek further legal advice.

Who should attend:

This webinar is targeted for community organisations with workers in NSW’s areas of concern.

Cost: FREE

If your organisation is having trouble registering please get in touch at nfptraining@justiceconnect.org.au or call 03 8636 4448 or 03 9002 4488.

Additional resources:

Update: 4 September 2021

The Department of Communities and Justice emailed the below advice and information sheet to NGO service providers about requiring employees to have COVID-19 vaccinations. For other information related to the sector, view the NCOSS COVID-19 Community Sector Resource.

Information sheet - Vaccinations for employees includes an outline of the approach DCJ is taking to assessing the risk of COVID-19 in all of our DCJ workplaces to determine if groups of employees will be required to be vaccinated to reduce risk.

 

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