Can I make the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for all employees?

Emily Shoemark

02 Feb 2021


  • Business Law
  • Business services
  • Employment Law

There is no black and white answer to this question – whether or not an employer can direct all employees to have the COVID-19 vaccination will depend on the circumstances, and whether the direction is ‘lawful and reasonable’.

For an employer to be able to justify mandatory vaccinations in the workplace, it would need to be able to show that the vaccination is necessary for the employee to perform the inherent duties of their position safely. Some relevant factors may be:

  • The type of business the employer runs and potential risk to employees – for example workplaces with a high level of contact or exposure to the public may have a greater justification for mandatory vaccinations;
  • The type of work being done by the employees – the higher the potential exposure to COVID-19, the more reasonable the direction to vaccinate (such as frontline health workers);
  • The vaccination helping to ensure a ‘COVID-19 safe’ workplace, and therefore helping to ensure the safety of all employees in the workplace, and ongoing viability of the business;
  • Any individual circumstances of employees which may mean that they have received health advice about having, or not having the vaccination.

How can we help?

If you have any questions about managing your team during this period, please do not hesitate to contact our Business Services team on 02 6285 8000 or by email.