As thousands of businesses prepare to shut their doors for a six-week period from midnight Wednesday, the Victorian government has issued further information about worker permits that business owners will need to issue if they’re remaining open.
While Premier Dan Andrews announced on Monday that businesses in most sectors will need to shut their doors from Wednesday, 11.59 pm, some are allowed to continue to trade; however, their staff will need to be supplied with a document to confirm their employment.
According to the government, employers will need to issue worker permits if their business is on the government’s list of permitted activities, employers are working in approved categories for onsite work, and the employees cannot work from home.
In rare circumstances, an employee does not need a worker permit. This includes if an employee is at risk at home, such as at risk of family violence; and law enforcement, emergency services workers or health workers who carry employer-issued photographic identification, which clearly identifies the employer.
An employee must not, however, use a worker permit if they test positive for the coronavirus and are required to self-isolate or are a close contact of someone who has tested positive.
Hefty fines have also been announced for rule breachers, including up to $99,132 for employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the scheme’s requirements. The employee in question will also be fined $19,826.
On-the-spot fines will also be introduced, costing individuals up to $1,652 and businesses up to $9,913 for anyone who breaches the scheme requirements, including employers and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.
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 government supplied template and fill it out.
- Employers must use the template for all worker permits issued under this scheme.
- Businesses must get an authorised person to sign the worker permit. This person might be the CEO, an 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.
- They can email or text the worker permit to their employee.
- An employee may travel to work without a worker permit once to get their first permit.
Rules for casual workers and sole traders
Employers may need to issue worker permits for specified date ranges for employees who do not have regular hours.
The Victorian government has explained that if this means that employers need to issue separate worker permits for new rostering periods, the employee will need to carry their old worker permit, to ensure authorities can verify with their employer that they are on their way to work.
Sole traders must issue a worker permit and sign the worker permit as both the employer and employee.
Carrying a worker permit
The Victorian government has specified that employees must carry the worker permit, but should also 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.
For more information and to download the worker permit template click here.