Hotel quarantine workers in Victoria have been stood down with full because after they refused to take the coronavirus vaccine.
Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria, the agency behind the program, requires all frontline workers employed at the state’s quarantine hotels to get the jab.
Some of the workers opted against the vaccine on medical grounds, with one woman fearful it could impact her fertility.
The stood down workers continue to receive full pay until other employment is sought.
Covid-19 Quarantine Victoria, the agency behind the program, requires all frontline workers employed at the state’s quarantine hotels to receive the jab. Pictured: Healthcare workers and Defence personnel transport luggage outside the Intercontinental quarantine hotel in Melbourne on Thursday
‘All staff members working at our active quarantine hotels must have had at least their first vaccination; if they have not been vaccinated, they cannot work a shift in the hotels,’ a spokeswoman told The Australian.
‘We are working with the small number of staff who remain unvaccinated on alternative work arrangements outside of the hotels.’
Shadow police minister David Southwick said although people had the right to deny the vaccine, it should be a condition of employment for working in hotel quarantine.
‘No one should be sitting at home on full pay doing nothing,’ he said.
However, legal experts said standing down staff with full pay until they were vaccinated avoided any risk of an unfair dismissal claim.
The hotel quarantine workers must prove their vaccination each time they arrive at a site through a vaccination card or a printout of their MyGov medical records.
Victoria’s hotel quarantine program restarted for a third time on Thursday.
Victoria’s hotel quarantine program restarted for a third time on Thursday. Pictured: Workers in PPE are seen in Melbourne on Thursday
The state hasn’t accepted returned travellers since February 13 after workers contracted the British Covid strain from guests at the Holiday Inn.
The outbreak, which grew to 24 cases, triggered a statewide five-day lockdown.
Victoria’s deadly second wave last year also leaked from hotel quarantine and led to a judicial review and overhaul of the program.
Under the latest changes, returned travellers will be tested four times, have their mealtimes staggered and large family groups will be spaced out to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission.
Hotel quarantine staff have all received at least one dose of the Pzifer vaccine, while 46 per cent have received their second.