Effective from 1 January 2016 except as otherwise noted
Note: This page is currently being edited and updated.
What is ‘No Jab No Pay’?
In November 2015, the federal parliament passed Social Services Legislation Amendment (No Jab, No Pay) Act 2015, abolishing the right to conscientiously object to vaccination for the purpose of eligibility to certain benefits provided under A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) (the Act). See how the law passed here.
The law took effect on 01 January 2016.
Will I still be able to enrol my child in childcare or early education services?
‘No Jab No Pay’ does not prohibit enrolment in child care; it affects only eligibility to certain subsidies and benefits. State laws determine enrolment criteria, so, whether or not you can still enrol your unvaccinated child in childcare or early education services (and as such become conditionally eligible for childcare subsidies) will depend on where you live.
Since 2015, four states, namely, Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, and South Australia have enacted laws which affect the enrolment of unvaccinated children to varying degrees.
To determine if your child is eligible for enrolment in childcare or early education services under state-based laws, please refer to the guides to ‘No Jab No Play’ laws linked immediately below.
Which benefits are subject to a vaccination requirement?
Three benefits, namely, Child Care Benefit, Child Care Rebate and Family Tax Benefit A Supplement are subject to a vaccination requirement.
Note that standard Family Tax Benefits A and B, paid fortnightly, and Family Tax Benefit B Supplement are not subject to a vaccination requirement. See table below.
|Benefit / Subsidy||Vaccination Requirement|
|Family Tax Benefit A||No|
|Family Tax Benefit A Supplement||Yes|
|Family Tax Benefit B||No|
|Family Tax Benefit B Supplement||No|
|Child Care Benefit||Yes|
|Child Care Rebate||Yes|
Which age groups are subject to the vaccination requirement?
All children, from 0 to 19 years of age, are now subject to the vaccination requirement, however, as noted in the following section, only vaccines recommended for children aged 0 to 4 years are included in the vaccination requirement.
Which vaccines are included in the vaccination requirement?
The number and type of vaccines that a non-exempt child is required to receive in order to satisfy the vaccination requirement depends on the year of birth of the child, and in general, includes most vaccines recommended for children aged 0 to 4 years under the National Immunisation Program.
Importantly, the vaccination requirement does not include such vaccines as HPV and dTpa boosters recommended for older children under the School Vaccination Program.
The required vaccines, based on a child’s year of birth, are listed in the two legislative instruments linked below.
Are there any permitted exemptions to the vaccination requirement?
As ‘No Jab No Pay’ abolished the right to conscientiously object to vaccination there are very few ways by which a child will be exempted from the vaccination requirement. However, a favourable decision by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) in early 2017 may open the door in making it easier for some parents to obtain a medical exemption for their children. See below for details on how to obtain a medical exemption.
Permitted exemption categories are listed in the table below, referenced to relevant sections of the Act.
|1||Medical contraindication to vaccination (Click for details)||s 6(3)(a)|
|2||Secretary determines in writing that the child meets the immunisation requirement (Click for details)
Example: A child with a disruptive behavioural disorder or developmental disorder who reacts with aggression or defiant behaviour when faced with a medical procedure.
|s 6(6) & 6(7)|
|3||Natural immunity (Click for details)||s 6(3)(b)|
|4||Undergoing an approved catch-up schedule (Click for details)||s 3 & 4(1)(b)|
|5||Participant in vaccine study||s 6(3)(c)|
|6||Temporary unavailability of vaccine||s 6(4)|
|7||Child vaccinated overseas (Not really an exemption)||s 6(5)|
On 15 February 2017, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) upheld an appeal against a Centrelink decision to cancel the payment of childcare subsidies to a parent who had claimed a medical exemption for their child. The full, unpublished decision, which has been redacted for privacy reasons, is available here. Feel free to share this decision with your doctor.
The decision addressed two important questions: (1) the scope of medical contraindication to vaccination; and (2) the form by which a doctor may certify a medical contraindication to vaccination under ‘No Jab No Pay’.
Section 6 (3) (a) of the Act provides that a child meets the vaccination requirement if:
[A] general practitioner, a paediatrician, a public health physician, an infectious diseases physician or a clinical immunologist has certified in writing that the immunisation of the child would be medically contraindicated under the specifications set out in the Australian Immunisation Handbook.