As of 11:59 pm Wednesday 5th of August, under strict stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions, essential workers in Melbourne who need to leave their homes to go to work, must carry a permit or they risk hefty fines.
Premier Daniel Andrews announced on Monday that businesses in certain sectors will be allowed to continue to trade under the city’s stage four restrictions, however, staff will need to carry with them a document from their employer to confirm their employment.
The ‘permitted work scheme’ will require all businesses that are continuing to operate in physical workplaces in Melbourne to issue permits to workers
How does the worker permit scheme work?
All employers that require their staff to attend a workplace have the responsibility to issue each worker with a permit, that they must carry when traveling to and from work along with photo ID.
Employers can issue a worker permit to their employee if:
- the organisation is on the list of permitted activities
- the employee is working in an approved category for on-site work, and
- the employee cannot work from home
In rare circumstances an employee does not need a worker permit.
- if an employee is at risk at home, such as at risk of family violence
- law enforcement, emergency services workers or health workers who carry employer-issued photographic identification, which clearly identifies the employer
An employee must not use a worker permit, even if they have been issued one, if:
- they test positive to coronavirus (COVID-19) and are required to self-isolate
- they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive
What happens if a worker or business does not comply with the scheme?
Fines of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses will apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the scheme or breach its requirements.
Workers who breach the scheme requirements or do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work could also face on-the-spot fines of up to $1652 and up to $9913 for businesses.
Information employers will need
To issue a worker permit, employers will need:
- name, ABN, company address and trading name
- the name and date of birth of the employee
- the employee’s regular hours and place of work
- to meet all eligibility criteria, including that the business is a permitted activity
- to meet all relevant legal obligations
- to have a COVID-19 safe plan in place
- to authorise a person or people to issue the worker permit
How to issue a worker permit
Each employee required to be on site must receive an individual worker permit with the required details.
- Download the template from this page and fill it out.
Employers must use this template for all worker permits issued under this scheme.
- Sign the worker permit.
You can print and sign or sign it electronically.
Businesses must get an authorised person to sign the worker permit. This person might be the CEO, a HR manager, an operations manager, or anyone else that is suitable.
They must be accountable for the details they provide.
They may be contacted by Victoria Police or other enforcement agencies to confirm the details.
- Ask the employee to sign the worker permit.
They can print and sign or sign electronically.
You can email or text the worker permit to your employee.
An employee may travel to work without a worker permit once to get their first permit.
Carrying a worker permit
Employees must carry the worker permit and should carry photo identification when travelling to and from the workplace. A worker permit can be shown electronically to authorities such as a photo, or scanned copy, on a mobile device.
Does this also apply to sole traders?
Yes. Sole traders who are completing on-site work must issue a permit, and then sign it as both the employer and employee.
How does it work for casual employees?
Casual workers who do not work regular hours may need to be issued with separate permits for specified date ranges. They may also need to carry with them multiple worker permits if they are beginning new rosters with different hours.
If a worker is picking up a last-minute shift or is called into work unexpectedly, they are to carry their existing permit with them, and then authorities will verify that they are attending work with their employer.
Employers are advised to avoid situations where employees are working at multiple sites. If an employee does work at multiple locations, they must then keep a log of the workplaces they attended, including the date, time and place.
You can find more information and the permit template here.