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Melbourne’s permit system revealed: What business owners need to do

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
05 August 2020 2 minute readShare

Melbourne-based businesses allowed to trade during stage 4 restriction will need to ensure their employees are supplied with permits from midnight Wednesday.

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.

Employers must:

  1. Download the government supplied template and fill it out.
    • Employers must use the template for all worker permits issued under this scheme.
  2. Sign the worker permit by printing it or sign it electronically.
    • 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.
  3. Employers must ask the employee to sign the worker permit. They can print and sign or sign electronically.
    • 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

Melbourne’s permit system revealed: What business owners need to do
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Maja Garaca Djurdjevic
Maja Garaca Djurdjevic

Maja Garaca Djurdjevic is the editor of My Business. 

Maja has a decade-long career in journalism across finance, business and politics. Now a well-versed reporter in the SME and accounting arena, prior to joining Momentum Media, Maja reported for several established news outlets in Southeast Europe, scrutinising key processes in post-conflict societies and enabling citizens to influence decision-making.

You can email Maja on [email protected] 

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