Legal Insights

Permitted Worker Scheme Directions

By Catherine Dunlop & Eloise Daff

• 06 August 2020 • 4 min read

On 6 August 2020, the Victorian Government published the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme and Access to Onsite Childcare/Kindergarten Permit Scheme Directions. This page provides a brief summary of Part 2 of these Directions, which covers the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme.Unless one of the limited exceptions applies, a person must hold a valid Permitted Worker Permit in order to:

  • attend work outside of their home, if they live in a Restricted Area;
  • or attend work in a Restricted Area, regardless of where they live.

What are the exemptions?

An employee is permitted to travel to work without a Permitted Worker Permit where:

  • the employee is travelling to obtain their first Permitted Worker Permit;
  • the employee is required to work on short notice rendering it impracticable for them to receive a current and accurate Permitted Worker Permit (although, they must still carry a Permitted Work Permit for the same employer, even if it refers to inaccurate hours or is expired);
  • it is not reasonable for the employee to work from home due to the risk of harm (such as family violence); or
  • in exceptional circumstances, the employee is carrying a written document that includes all the necessary information, despite not being in the approved form.

An adult is permitted to transport a dependent or a person with whom they usually reside to work, in accordance with the dependant’s/household member’s Permitted Worker Permit (in circumstances where the worker cannot transport themselves).

Lastly, an employee will not be required to have a Permitted Worker Permit where they have photo ID issued by an organisation which employs or engages them in the capacity set out below (and their ID confirms this):

  • all Victoria Police employees, Australian Defence Force employees and Australian Federal Police employees
  • emergency service workers, which include officers and employees of:
    • Ambulance Victoria
    • Australian Red Cross
    • Bushfire Recovery Victoria
    • Country Fire Authority
    • Emergency Management Victoria
    • Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority
    • Fire Rescue Victoria
    • Forest Fire Management Victoria
    • Life Saving Victoria
    • Marine Search and Rescue
    • Victoria State Emergency Service Authority
    • Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine
  • hospital and health workers
  • any class of person approved by the Chief Health Officer.

Who can issue a Permitted Worker Permit?

A Permitted Worker Permit can only be issued by a Permitted Employer who:

  • is operating or conducting a Permitted Service; and
  • has a COVID Safe Plan in place (unless they have fewer than 5 workers attending work at a Work Premises, in which case they are not required to have a COVID Safe Plan).

Permitted Employers can only issue Permitted Worker Permits to their employees. Permitted Employers cannot issue permits to sub-contractors (see below ‘What about sole-traders and independent contractors?’).

The Permitted Employer must keep a record of all Permitted Worker Permits they have issued, along with a record of those who attend the Work Premises.

Who can be issued with a Permitted Worker Permit?

A person who is providing a Permitted Service in circumstances where it is not reasonably practicable for the person to work from home. A person with a Permitted Work Permit must also carry photo ID on their way to and from work.

Can people diagnosed with COVID-19 and their close contacts hold a Permitted Worker Permit?

No. A person who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and their close contacts cannot hold a Permitted Worker Permit or attend work outside of their home (unless the diagnosed person has been given a clearance from self-isolation). A diagnosed person and their close contacts must notify their employer immediately, and the Permitted Work Permit will be automatically revoked.

What about employees who move between Stage 3 and Stage 4 Restriction Zones to attend work?

Employees who live outside the Restricted Area can only attend work inside the Restricted Area if they hold a Permitted Worker Permit (unless they fall within one of the exemptions outlined above).

Similarly, employees living inside the Restricted Area can only attend work outside the Restricted Area if they hold a Permitted Worker Permit (again, subject to the exemptions). This includes situations where their work is outside of the Restricted Area (for example, in Regional Victoria).

What about sole-traders and independent contractors?

A Permitted Employer can only issue a Permitted Worker Permit to one of its employees (not, for example, sub-contractors).

If a person is eligible for and requires a Permitted Worker Permit, but does not have an employer (because they are a sole-trader, independent contractor etc) the person must issue themselves a Permitted Worker Permit.

COVID Safe Plan

A COVID Safe Plan is a plan put in place by the employer that addresses the health and safety issues arising from COVID-19, created in accordance with the Workplace Directions. The Victorian Government has prepared a range of guidance to assist Permitted Employers to create their COVID Safe Plan.

Click here

Permitted Employer

An organisation or individual operating a Permitted Work Premises. Click to view a list of Permitted Work Premises.

Click here

Permitted Service

The services or permitted industries as set out in the Stage 4 Restrictions Table.

Click here

Permitted Worker Permit

A permit issued in accordance with the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme Directions. Click to access a template.

Click here

Restricted Area

Metropolitan Melbourne (noting that Stage 4 curfew and travel restrictions do not apply to Mitchell Shire). For more specific details regarding which areas fall within the Restricted Area, see the Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Areas) (No 6).

Click here

Work Premises

The premises of an employer in which work is undertaken, including any vehicle used for work purposes.

By Catherine Dunlop & Eloise Daff

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