That includes the education sector, where government surveys suggest 98.4 percent of teachers have had a dose. Nevertheless, Dalgleish said some school leaders had endured difficult conversations with teachers who prefer to leave their jobs rather than get the plug.
“My understanding is that the department will provide information to schools where any employees do not meet the requirements by Monday. They can then seek a replacement employee, he said
“What we are waiting for is clarity on what our responsibilities and rights are if employees meet on site when they are not meant to be there.”
When term 1 begins on January 28 next year, unvaccinated teachers will no longer have access to leave rights, according to the teaching department’s correspondence to all school staff.
They will be considered “absent without leave” after this date before the department can legally terminate their employment from 28 April.
The mandate has also begun to bite in the sports industry: three employees working for leading horse trainer Peter Moody are stepping down along with at least 32 other racing workers, while the AFL believes a “handful” of staff in Victorian clubs have yet to get a jab.
Bendigo teacher Simone, who asked for her last name to be detained, and her partner, an agricultural worker, will both be unemployed from Monday because they do not want to be vaccinated. She has already spent all of her annual vacation and is no longer off duty when she started in 2016.
As a result, Simone said their one-year-old son — who has taken his childhood shots — would no longer be able to get into day care because unvaccinated parents were banned from handing over, while the couple might also have to move in with Simone’s parents.
“What example would it give our son if we succumbed to a health decision we were not sure about?” she said.
Jasmine Geen, a year 5 teacher at an elementary school in Melbourne’s north — a COVID-19 hotspot — taught on-site one day a week and said it was comforting to know she would only work with colleagues who have been vaccinated.
“No single child at my school will be vaccinated and there are over 500 students,” she said.
Healthcare professionals have an extra week, until October 29, to get their first vaccine dose. As of Thursday, at least 94.2 per cent of staff at Royal Melbourne Hospital and 97 per cent at Austin Health had received a sting.
Lisa Fitzpatrick, Victorian secretary of the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation, said she did not have data available but her sense was only a very small number of nurses were adamant against the vaccine
“For some people, nothing will change their minds, and it’s a shame when we go to the top of things,” Fitzpatrick said. “But there are consequences to every choice we make.”
As Prime Minister Daniel Andrews reiterated his view that being vaccinated with your employer was not a tough conversation, the number of people asking the community’s legal center Justice Connect for clarification about their rights has increased significantly over the past week.
Amy Schwebel, head of the center’s access program, said the most common queries were about what evidence is required.
“How their privacy will be protected is also a common theme and what steps their employers need to take to support their return to work anywhere along the line,” Schwebel said.
Victorian Trades Hall Council secretary Luke Hilakari, who represents more than 30 unions, said unions would continue to work for members even if they chose not to be vaccinated.
“Employers will face opportunities – to put people down without pay, there may be opportunities to take leave for a period of time or perform some tasks from home,” he said.
“Trade unions will continue to represent members as best we can, while respecting health ordinances and encouraging society to be vaccinated.”
With a easing of restrictions on the horizon when 70 per cent of eligible Victorians over the age of 16 are fully vaccinated and as single-dose coverage approaches 90 per cent, the state Chamber of Commerce and chief executive Paul Guerra said federal data suggested vaccination doubts were lower in Victoria than any other state.
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