Charity CatholicCare NT jumps gun on mandatory COVID vaccines for staff – ABC News

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A Darwin charity and social service provider has demanded its staff be vaccinated or their employment will be terminated, prematurely quoting not-yet-existent government rules.
CatholicCare NT director Jayne Lloyd sent a memo to its 230-plus staff across the NT and SA last week, saying anyone "unable or unwilling to get vaccinated" by November 1 "will not be able to work at CCNT".
"We are in the process of standing down staff or terminating employment for staff who do not get the vaccine," the memo read.
"The NT government has introduced a requirement for mandatory COVID vaccines for organisations working with vulnerable people."
But this is not the case. A spokesman has said none of the Chief Minister's mandatory vaccination directions are in force.
"But there is nothing to stop businesses proactively issuing their own vaccination directions to their staff now," the spokesman said.
ABC News: Felicity James
Since the memo, CatholicCare NT's Phil Brown has told ABC Radio Darwin that the organisation did not intend to break any rules.
"Of course, we know that we can't do that until we have the confirmation, or the legislative requirements, set by the government," he told Late Breakfast.
"We just want to make sure that our staff are protected."
The NT Chief Health Officer is expected to make a direction "in the near future". 
"People will be given reasonable time to get vaccinated from the point this direction is issued," the Chief Minister's spokesman said.
It is likely vaccines will be mandated for NT workers who "directly interact with the vulnerable", including staff in supermarkets, retail, hospitality, quarantine, border control, GP clinics, pharmacies, essential infrastructure, supply and logistics.
Supplied: FairWork
The Fair Work Ombudsman says employers can demand vaccinations if the direction is lawful and reasonable, which is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
"Employers should get their own legal advice if they're considering making coronavirus vaccinations mandatory in their workplace," a FWO factsheet says.
But the ombudsman, Sandra Parker, said mandating vaccines was a fluid situation.
"The Fair Work Ombudsman will review and update our information regularly as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and the vaccination rollout continues across Australia," she said.
The CatholicCare NT memo said 54 staff had contacted its human resources department regarding their vaccination status.
"I do appreciate that for some staff who do not want to or in exceptional cases are ineligible to get the vaccine, this may be a difficult process and I would strongly encourage you to contact HR as soon as possible so that we can understand your situation and work with you on a resolution," the memo from Ms Lloyd said.
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