The proposed Jetstar COVID-19 vaccination policy update
Your ASU representatives met with Jetstar to discuss the proposed COVID-19 vaccination policy on Thursday. Our view has always been that public health experts should categorise what groups of workers must be vaccinated to perform their jobs, not individual employers. However, this does not necessarily make it illegal for Jetstar to issue a direction to staff that they need to be vaccinated against COVID-19. There is a lot more information we need to obtain from Qantas to provide advice to members.
We dealt with the following issues in the consultation:
- What controls Jetstar has considered to protect against transmission of COVID-19, and why Jetstar says vaccination is a necessary measure in the workplace
Health and safety is core union business. Importantly, Jetstar has agreed to provide us with its risk assessment. This information will help us work through your risk profile, and what controls (including vaccinations) may be in place. In addition, Jetstar has agreed to another meeting before the policy is implemented to discuss the risk assessments. We will provide more advice to members when we have more information.
- Summary of Public Health Orders already in place
While not secured at the meeting with Jetstar, as this is a Qantas Group policy, Qantas has agreed to provide us with a summary of the public health orders that applies to its workforce. This information is critical for us when we advise you on your vaccination obligations.
- The timeframe for implementation
We raised concerns around the short time frame for implementation and ongoing supply and that employees should have access to their preferred vaccine. We raised that employees should not face disciplinary action if they have taken reasonable steps to comply with the policy but cannot because their preferred vaccine is not available. Jetstar is considering its position on where employees take reasonable steps to comply with the direction and make it clear that if employees were unable to comply due to logistical reasons, they would not be in breach of its policy.
- The exemption process
Due to a number of circumstances, not all of our members can comply with the directive. Jetstar has agreed to consult the ASU on the process for exemptions to be considered in the coming weeks. It will allow us to ensure principles such as procedural fairness are included.
- Employee Privacy
Your delegates raised concerns over vaccination information being visible on Workday and who can access it. While not secured at the meeting with Jetstar, Qantas will provide a written response on who can access COVID-19 vaccination status on Workday and how the information is secured. For employees with medical exemptions, the information is kept with Qantas Medical, not Workday.
Pass this bulletin to your colleagues who aren’t in the union. They can join at www.asu.asn.au/ASUJOIN.