With downloads of the COVIDSafe app (the Australian government app used for contact tracing those who have been in contact with people with COVID-19) reaching over 5 million, we know employers have been wondering if they can require an employee to download the COVIDSafe app.

The short answer is ‘no’.

The COVIDSafe app has been clearly promoted as voluntary, and employers must respect this. Understandably, employers want to ensure a safe workplace and are considering how they can best implement COVID-19 safety plans for their workplace, if they haven’t already.

The specific determination covering this issue the:

Biosecurity (Human Biosecurity Emergency) (Human Coronavirus with Pandemic Potential) (Emergency Requirements—Public Health Contact Information) Determination 2020

With the schedules setting out the following regarding requiring people to download the app. Particular points for employers have been marked in bold.

9  Coercing the use of COVIDSafe

             (1)  A person must not require that another person:

                     (a)  download COVIDSafe to a mobile telecommunications device; or

                     (b)  have COVIDSafe in operation on a mobile telecommunications device; or

                     (c)  consent to uploading COVID app data from a mobile telecommunications device to the National COVIDSafe Data Store.

             (2)  A person must not:

                     (a)  refuse to enter into, or continue, a contract or arrangement with another person (including a contract of employment); or

                     (b)  take adverse action (within the meaning of the Fair Work Act 2009) against another person; or

                     (c)  refuse to allow another person to enter premises; or

                     (d)  refuse to allow another person to participate in an activity; or

                     (e)  refuse to receive goods or services from another person; or

                      (f)  refuse to provide goods or services to another person;

on the ground that, or on grounds that include the ground that, the other person:

                     (g)  has not downloaded COVIDSafe to a mobile telecommunications device; or

                     (h)  does not have COVIDSafe in operation on a mobile telecommunications device; or

                      (i)  has not consented to uploading COVID app data from a mobile telecommunications device to the National COVIDSafe Data Store.

 

When considering a COVID-19 Safety Plan, your specific workplace circumstances need to be taken into account. Providing access to handwashing facilities, sanitiser, and social distancing where possible are the starting points to implement.

 

Want help with your employment obligations? Get in contact with our Workplace Partners now.

 

*This is general information only and doesn’t take your specific circumstances into account.