Under the Victorian government’s new Permitted Worker Scheme, essential workers and on site staff will now be required to carry a worker’s permit from 11:59pm tonight. Premier Daniel Andrews has described the scheme as “old-fashioned common sense,” with the paper permit designed to streamline the process of police stops and checks for staff heading into work. 

Since the Monday morning announcement of sweeping restrictions to Victorian industry, questions have been flying about who is and isn’t required to go to work. The basic information we’ve received says that all essential frontline workers are permitted to continue work onsite with COVIDSafe workplace plans in place. This includes police, medical and nursing staff. You can find the full list of Victorian industry restrictions on the Department of Human Health and Services website

Victorian workers who are in a permitted for onsite work industry will be required to carry the permit along with photo identification, with failure to do so resulting in penalties of up to $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 for businesses, or on the spot fines of up to $1,652 for individuals and up to $9,913 for businesses.

There are some exceptions, with workers like police and nurses being permitted to use their official identification instead of the paper permit. But those working in the private sector will be required to apply for the permit on the Department of Justice and Community Safety website

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An image of the Permitted Worker Permit. Credit: Victoria Government

So what is actually required? 

It is the responsibility of the employer to apply for the permits on the website, fill out the required information, and have it signed by an authorised person – this includes the CEO, an HR manager or an operations manager.

In order for an employer to issue a permit, the information required includes: 

  • 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.

The employee is then required to sign the permit, and must have it on their person, or displayable electronically, along with photo identification whenever travelling to and from work. 

“If you’re pulled up by police, you can simply provide that piece of paper, and then you would be waved on to go about your business,” Andrews said.

“This is old-fashioned common sense. It’s a piece of paper. Your employer fills it out. They sign it. You sign it. You carry it with you.

“Then you’re able to demonstrate (your reason to be out) so there’s not a sense of anxiety or a sense of having to tell your story 17 times.”

For further information, or to apply for the worker permit, visit the Department of Justice and Community Safety website

UPDATE: 

With the addition of the new worker’s permit, the Premier has today announced additional information regarding childcare services. 

“What I can say though is there will be a further permit system, a simple process, but if you are a permitted worker, regardless of whether you are working in person or from home and you attest that there is no-one else in your household that can look after your children you will be able with that very simple permit to access childcare,” Andrews said. 

“I know that that will mean that many people who have been using childcare and rely upon childcare will not be able to do that.

“These rules, I should stress, also apply to kinder and they will essentially apply to primary school students attending school and doing remote and flexible learning in a supervised environment outside their home.” 

He has also addressed the conversation around offering in-home childcare, saying “We’ll provide further advice on the issue of in-home childcare arrangements and we’ll do that as soon as we possibly can. 

“I just want to be clear again — the notion of having thousands and thousands of people coming in and out of homes, that is not conducive with driving down these numbers.”

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