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Changes to the classification of some of the disability sector workforce as Critically Essential Workers

Published 25 January 2022

NDS in Queensland would like to make providers aware of changes to the classification of some of the disability sector workforce as Critically Essential Workers.


This will impact close contact quarantine requirements, and therefore workforce, and on risk assessment and management for the sector.

Use of Critically Essential Workers requires that employers complete a documented process which can be found here on the Queensland Government website.

Please read the information supplied by Queensland Health below to determine if this update applies to your workforce.

Workers in scope:

  • Health is a critical industry and this includes the disability and aged care sectors. Workforce identified as healthcare under the Workers in a Healthcare Setting (COVID-19 Vaccination Requirements) Direction No.2 are considered in scope if their role:
    • requires a person with particular skills
    • mst be performed in person at the workplace
    • must be performed to prevent an immediate risk or death or serious injury to a person OR prevent serious harm (social, economic or physical) in the community.

Conditions relating to the use of Critically Essential Workers:

  • Employers are required to complete a self-assessment and submit this documentation, more detailed information on these processes can be found here as well as common Q&As.

Critically essential workers can only leave quarantine to complete work if they:

  • have no COVID-19 symptoms and
  • are fully vaccinated – this includes two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine PLUS a booster shot where eligible.

When leaving quarantine for work, they must:

  • use a mask when indoors. Also wear a mask outdoors if you cannot physically distance from other people
  • travel to and from the workplace by private transport, by the most direct route practicable and without stopping (except for refuelling and that should be contactless if possible)
  • monitor symptoms
  • wash hands regularly
  • get tested on day six of their quarantine period (and at any point of quarantine if they develop COVID-19 symptoms)
  • practice physical distance from other people until the end of their quarantine period
  • comply with any industry or employer requirements for workers in a critically essential role.

The Commonwealth has developed Interim Guidance on Managing Workforce in Regards to COVID-19 in Aged Care that the Deputy CHO, Dr James Smith has assessed as relevant guidance for disability providers.

Please note: A staff member wearing appropriate PPE at the time of exposure to a COVID-19 positive person, is not considered a close contact.

New Resources

QDN has worked with Queensland Health to develop easy read vaccination resources, for use with accessed here.

Last updated: 25 January 2022