The New Normal

Mercer Marsh Benefits and national personal injury claims manager EML have partnered to provide you with a range of resources to assist your business in managing the risk of COVID-19 in your workplace.

As states and territories across Australia emerge from lockdowns and border closures, organisations face the reality of learning to live with COVID-19 whilst reopening their businesses – a challenge they have never had to navigate before. The risk of COVID-19 in the workplace has never been more prevalent and proactive risk management, as well as compliance to government restrictions and health orders, has never been more complex and critical for businesses.

Supporting you and your business

Mercer Marsh Benefits (MMB) and EML are pleased to have partnered to bring you a suite of helpful resources and information to assist your business to reopen safely and effectively manage the risk of COVID-19 in your workplace.

Return to work FAQs

The following recommendations should be assessed in conjunction with employee mental health considerations:

  • Increase open dialogue between workplace leaders and colleagues, including opportunities for leaders to actively listen to employee concerns and issues and address these concerns accordingly. 
  • Employers should outline the channels and opportunities available to employees who may have questions and concerns.
  • Employers should foster creating an open communication channel which allows for ongoing support and the ability to answer more specific return to work questions.
  • Ensure additional organisational resources are highlighted in employee communication.
  • Webinars and training sessions may be a useful aid to provide employees with the necessary tools to cope with major change, stress, or anxiety. Organisational resources such as the employee assistance program may also be beneficial.
  • If an employee cannot return to the workplace due to child commitments, it is important to come to an arrangement and suggest help. This could include continuing work from home circumstances or helping connect them with childcare services.

For more information, visit Wellbeing (

For some, returning to the workplace may cause unintended stress and anxiety. During these times, it is important to remember that each employee’s situation is different. It is up to leaders to understand the return to work guidelines and direct employees to the appropriate resources to address their mental health and concerns. 
  • Create open communication channels with employees, outlining what employees can expect when returning to the workplace. 
  • Provide clear guidelines for employees that highlight the organisational safety precautions being taken to ensure continued workplace safety, as well as remote work policies. 
  • Clearly announce the return to work time frames and allow adequate time for employees to review the guidelines and have adequate time to prepare.
  • It may be beneficial to remind employees about the additional value of face-to-face interactions and collaboration within workplace environments.


Employees need certainty, understanding, and positivity during what may be a difficult transitional period. Certainty can be offered through clearly set out guidelines and time frames that are being followed. Understanding can be provided by highlighting to employees what exactly is changing and how this benefits the team and company. Finally, positivity should be initiated by workplace leaders to maintain morale and set the tone for the rest of the team.

All businesses should ensure a safe working environment is adopted throughout the return to work transition, including measures to reduce the risks of COVID-19. Complying with the appropriate state or territory safety plans and guidelines is a necessity for keeping employees and businesses safe. 

Taking a risk management approach ensures that the business determines the appropriate level of control measures to implement to prevent workplace transmission.

For more information, visit Vaccination | Safe Work Australia (

If an employee raises concerns about co-workers being unvaccinated, it is important to highlight that vaccination is not mandatory (unless working in a profession with mandatory requirements as specified by your state or territory) or that they may have a medical exemption. 

Whilst vaccinations are available to all, it may not be reasonably practical to require vaccinations in a workplace. Ensuring employee safety is about minimising the total risk of COVID-19 in the workplace, with vaccination being one way to do so. It is important to remind employees that whilst vaccination is encouraged, there are other control measures in place to manage the overall risk in the workplace.

An employee can only be required to get vaccinated where:

  • a specific law requires it.
  • the requirement is permitted by an enterprise agreement, other registered agreement or employment contract.
  • they are given a lawful and reasonable direction to be vaccinated. However, this is assessed on a case by case basis.


Need more assistance?

MMB and EML are offering a limited number of co-funded support packages for EML clients to help you create the tools needed for your business. 

Key Contacts

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Kristy Nicholson

National Manager – Health and Safety Consulting, Mercer Marsh Benefits

+61 2 8864 8214
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Ciara Donnelly

Principal, Health and Safety Consulting, Mercer Marsh Benefits

+61 498 444 784

Marsh Pty Ltd (ABN 86 004 651 512)(“Marsh”). This webpage is not intended to be taken as advice regarding any individual situation and should not be relied upon as such. The information contained herein is based on sources we believe reliable, but we make no representation or warranty as to its accuracy.  Marsh shall have no obligation to update this publication and shall have no liability to you or any other party arising out of this publication or any matter contained herein.

Marsh Pty Ltd (ABN 86 004 651 512, AFSL 238983) (“Marsh”) arrange this insurance and is not the insurer. The Discretionary Trust Arrangement is issued by the Trustee, JLT Group Services Pty Ltd (ABN 26 004 485 214, AFSL 417964) (“JGS”). JGS is part of the Marsh group of companies. Any advice in relation to the Discretionary Trust Arrangement is provided by JLT Risk Solutions Pty Ltd (ABN 69 009 098 864, AFSL 226827) which is a related entity of Marsh. The cover provided by the Discretionary Trust Arrangement is subject to the Trustee’s discretion and/or the relevant policy terms, conditions and exclusions. This website contains general information, does not take into account your individual objectives, financial situation or needs and may not suit your personal circumstances. For full details of the terms, conditions and limitations of the covers and before making any decision about whether to acquire a product, refer to the specific policy wordings and/or Product Disclosure Statements available from JLT Risk Solutions on request. Full information can be found in the JLT Risk Solutions Financial Services Guide.”