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Have you thought about the privacy obligations of your staff’s covid health information?

Under the Privacy Act 1988, the COVID-19 vaccine status of any person is classified as sensitive health information. Employers have responsibilities and obligations in collecting and protecting this information provided by their staff.

Requirements vary accordingly to the workplace involved but generally, if employers seek to collect this information, it must be reasonable and necessary for the employer’s functions and activities. Collection for monitoring purposes only will generally not be reasonable. 

In particular: 

  • There are only limited circumstances the Employer’s collection of vaccination status information be reasonable. 
  • Only the minimum about of information necessary to maintain a safe workplace can be collected and it must only be disclosed on a need-to-know basis. 
  • Clear and justified reasons for collecting the employee data.
  • Consent must be given to the collection of employee’s health information. For consent to be valid, unless required by law, the employee must understand why the information is to be collected, what it will use it for, and an opportunity to provide or decline consent.
  • The employer must take reasonable steps to ensure employee health information is secure and advise employees how the information will be handled. 

Please note, requirements vary between jurisdictions, various industries and according to the employer’s turnover and we recommend you seek advice in relation to your particular workplace.

If you would like advice on how this applies to your business contact Signature Law on 4861 2345 or adminstration@signaturelaw.com.au.

Please note this blog is general in nature and for information purposes only and should not be relied on for legal advice. Should you require advice regarding the information in this email please contact us so we may provide advice specific to your needs and circumstances.

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