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COVID-19 vaxess and APS roles

You’re keen on landing a job in the Australian Public Service (APS) or switching from one government department to another in a smart career move. Do you need to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be eligible to apply for public service positions?

Our recruiters are regularly asked this question, especially since jobseekers don’t want to waste time going for a position and then being rejected for vaccination reasons.

In this expert article, we provide general information on vaccines and job hunting in the APS.

NOTE: This topic can be complex with individual job requirements influencing factors and potential exemptions. We therefore suggest you head to the Australian Public Services Commission’s website for full details.

Do I need to be COVID-19 vaccinated to win an APS position?

The Australian Government doesn’t have one set rule on this.

Some public sector employers require jobseekers to be vaccinated against COVID-19 for all positions. Other departments say it’s voluntary, depending on the position.

What type of APS jobs require COVID-19 vaccinations?

Each department has its own policy on COVID-19 vaccinations. This means situations vary, and positions can be assessed on case-by-case. Vaccination may be mandatory, for example, in positions in high-risk industries or settings (such as in the health sector).

Some enterprise agreements or employment contracts include a requirement for vaccinations.

Essentially this is up to the head of the department and decisions on whether to require vaccinations must be lawful and reasonable.

How do heads of agencies decide if COVID-19 vaccinations are needed?

The Fair Work Ombudsman has published a four-tier structure that covers roles based on the risk of COVID-19 infection or transmission. Here they are:

Tier 1: Employees required as part of their duties to interact with people with an increased risk of being infected with COVID-19.

Tier 2: Employees required to have close contact with people who are particularly vulnerable to the health impacts of COVID-19.

Tier 3: Employees who interact or are likely to interact with other people (including other employees) in their normal course of employment.

Tier 4: Employees who have minimal or are likely to have minimal interaction with other people in their ordinary duties of employment.

These tiers are a guide only. They’re designed to be used by government agencies in making case-by-case decisions on whether COVID-19 vaccination can be made mandatory.

How do I know if a job requires me to be vaccinated?

If COVID-19 vaccination is a mandatory requirement for an APS position being advertised, you’ll see this noted in the job specification. If it’s not mandatory, but rather preferred, this will likely be noted.

You can also do your own research. Asking your recruiter is a good idea. You can also contact the employer. And you can check each individual department’s website.

If the job specifications state that vaccination is mandatory, then it’s mandatory and you will be asked for proof. So, if you’ve decided—for whatever reason—not to get vaccinated you’d be wasting your time applying for these positions.

Do I put my vaccination status in my resume and cover letter?

This is a personal choice, but it certainly can’t hurt if you’re fully vaccinated and comfortable sharing this information. Indeed, it can be a selling point in today’s highly competitive job market. It can certainly make life easier for employers knowing they can tick off this box.

As recruiters, we think this is a good idea, especially for jobs where proof of vaccination is a condition for employment.

How do I put my vaccination status on my resume or cover letter?

We recommended including a short sentence under your contact information (at the top where it will be noticed quickly). Here’s an example that will suffice: “Fully vaccinated against COVID-19”.

You don’t need details of what types of vaccination, the dates you were vaccinated or where. Proof of vaccination can be provided later, and you don’t want to waste premium space on your resume with such details. Save that space for valuable information on your skills, knowledge and experience.

Do I put my vaccination status on my LinkedIn profile?

It’s not required to put your vaccination status on your LinkedIn profile. It’s your choice to do so.

What do I do if I’m not vaccinated?

If you’re not vaccinated, and don’t intend to get vaccinated, you may need to be more selective in your job search process. Make sure you only apply for APS positions where it’s not mandatory to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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