Mediation Institute Pty Ltd supports the roll out of Covid 19 vaccination to all Australians however Mi respects individual choice that people may exercise regarding such issues.
Regardless of personal preferences it is important that we and you, as mediators, abide by the law of the jurisdictions in which we practice.
In Victoria the Chief Health Officer has directed that all Authorised Workers must have their first Covid 19 vaccine by Friday 15th October 2021 and be fully Vaccinated by 26 November 2021.
Provision of education and the provision of essential services such as mediation, FDRP and legal services are included in this definition of Authorised Workers and they are definely not a place for noncompliance.
This post from the Fair Work Ombudsman has more information if you are concerned about directions from an employer regarding vaccination against COVID-19 infections. It was updated on the 4th October 2021 (at time of writing this post) COVID-19 vaccinations: workplace rights & obligations – Fair Work Ombudsman
Mediation Institute Specific
The vast majority of Mediation Institute’s training and professional services are provided on line and as such online services outside Victoria will continue as normal.
Until further notice Mediation Institute will not conduct face to face client or student interaction unless both staff members, contractors, clients and/or students are each double vaccinated. Such face to face contact is to be the exception rather than the rule, and no person will be directed to engage in such an interaction. Should any staff member or contractor wish to engage in a face to face meeting they must first advise head office, so that we can ensure that such meetings are logged for the purposes of our insurance and risk activities.
Working as a Mediator
It unclear at this stage whether there are exceptions to permit Victorian practitioners who work on line without the mandatory vaccination. The current orders appear to differentiate between a person working from home rather than whether they are working online. As it is not permitted to have any person attend another person’s home if any member is conducting face to face mediation services they will be required to be an Authorised Worker or working for an Authorised provider.
If a practitioner works for an agency at an agency premises, even if they work online or via telephone, would appear to be caught by the mandatory vaccination requirement. There are significant penalties for breach of these orders, let alone the risk of contributing to spread of Covid-19 and the danger to individuals.
We have not yet had to determine whether a charge for disobeying a direction related to COVID-19 prevention measures impacts good character requirements for mediators for your accrediation or re-accreditation and hope not to have to do so.
We are currently seeking further input regarding the proposed NSW rules, which while they do not include mandatory immunisation of workers, may restrict the clients you may provide services to over the transition period which has different restrictions for those who are not vaccinated to those who are.
While the issue has not come to a head in other states as yet these are issues we will all have to be aware of as each state and territory interprets the roadmap to living with COVID-19.