Victorian employers must provide worker’s permits to eligible employees or cop a massive fine

- August 5, 2020 3 MIN READ

From 11:59pm on Wednesday 5 August, employers that require their staff to attend a worksite must issue a worker permit to their employees or cop a  massive fine. Issuing permits is the employer’s responsibility. Without a permit, any employee travelling to work in Melbourne or Mitchell Shire will face huge penalties as will their employer.

However, the premier Daniel Andrews has warned you must make sure you only issue permits for employees that fit eligibility requirements or you could face swift retribution. Penalties 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 scheme’s requirements.

The new permit scheme comes into effect as residents and businesses across Melbourne and Mitchell Shire go into stage 4 lockdowns. The stage four restrictions will see 1000s of Victorian businesses shut down for the next six weeks, with around 250,000 workers sent home as businesses go into hibernation.

The new restrictions come into play as Victoria records its worst day of new coronavirus diagnoses to date, with 725 new cases and 15 deaths. In an effort to stem the tide of increasing community transmissions, Melbournians are now under a range of new restrictions, including an 8pm curfew, (the first time a curfew has been placed on Melbournians in history) a travel limit of no more than a 5km radius from home, and a 60 minute limit on outdoor exercise daily.

From 11:59pm tonight, August 5, workplaces in Melbourne must be closed unless the business is part of a permitted activity or essential service, or all employees are working from home.

The premier Daniel Andrews has announced there will be stiff penalties for anyone who fails to abide by the new restrictions. On-the-spot fines of up to $1,652 (for individuals) and up to $9,913 (for businesses) will apply to anyone who breaches the scheme including employers and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.

So who is eligible for a work permit?

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.

This includes:

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.

To issue a 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.

You can find out more about the worker’s permit scheme and apply for permits here

Premier Daniel Andrews says there will be no grace period for permits.
“We need to make these changes. We have tried to be as clear as we possibly can. We know this will cause inconvenience and we know it will be a real challenge for a lot of families, but what is an even greater challenge is if we don’t drive these numbers down and we finish up with these sorts of rules in place for much, much longer than they otherwise would be,” Andrews said.
“So I know it will be really, really challenging.
“But any period that people will explain they were confused, that door will close very quickly because these rules need to work.
“It’s in all of our interests that these rules work and drive down these case numbers.
“So, again, thank you to everyone who is doing the right thing.”

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