Authorised Worker Permit requirement in Metropolitan Melbourne
By Alan J. McDonald
Are you an authorised worker? Our team have broken down the Authorised Worker Permit requirement in Metropolitan Melbourne, effective 17 August 2021.
In response to the current COVID-19 situation in Metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria’s Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton has recently provided Workplace Directions (No 44) in accordance with his emergency powers under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic). Under these directions, authorised workers are now required to carry an Authorised Worker Permit in hardcopy or electronic form and photographic personal identification. Employers must note that the responsibility of issuing worker permits to employees will fall on the employer. However, failure to comply will result in significant penalties for both employers and employees.
As an employer, you will be required to issue a worker permit to your employee if:
- Your workplace is on the list of Authorised providers and authorised workers list, found here;
- the employee is working in an approved category for on-site work; and
- the employee cannot work from home.
Employers must keep a record of all Authorised Worker Permits issued. A person does not require a worker permit if one of the following circumstances apply to them:
- If the primary purpose of the worker’s travel and attendance at the Work Premise is to obtain their first Authorised Worker Permit from the employer;
- If the worker is required to work from the work premise on short notice, rendering it impracticable for the worker to receive a current Authorised Worker Permit before attending. Here, the worker can carry an Authorised Worker Permit which is expired, incomplete or for a separate period, for that same employer;
- If it is not reasonable for the worker to work from their ordinary place of residence because of risk of harm – such as family violence or violence of another person at the premise;
- If the worker is a law enforcement worker, emergency service or health care worker; on the condition that they carry employer-issued photographic identification which clearly identifies the employer;
- If in exceptional circumstances, the worker is carrying a written document that includes all the details required in the approved form (without employer’s certification and signature); or
- If they are an adult transporting a dependant or person they ordinarily reside with to or from the work premises, and that worker is an Authorised Worker.
- Do you work in Regional Victoria? Authorised Workers who live in metropolitan Melbourne and travel to a Work Premise located in Regional Victoria are required to carry an Authorised Worker Permit and personal identification.
- If the Authorised Worker is self-employed, sole-trader, independent contractor, sub-contractor, or person appointed to or holding a statutory office? This person must issue themselves with an Authorised Worker Permit in the approved form, signed as both the employer and the worker.
- If the Authorised Worker is a contractor or sub-contractor ordinarily contracted via an agency? The ‘employer’ will have satisfied their obligation to issue an Authorised Worker Permit if the permit is used by the agency.
- Student placements? Students currently undertaking student placements will require an Authorised Worker Permit. The employer of a student enrolled at a higher education provider but undertaking student placement with them will have satisfied their obligation if the Authorised Worker Permit is issued by the higher education provider.
HOW TO ISSUE A WORKER PERMIT
Employers must undertake the following:
- Before issuing an Authorised Worker Permit, the employer must take all reasonable steps to ensure that a worker does not enter or remain on the employer’s Work Premise to perform work without an Authorised Worker Permit;
- Download and fill in the Authorised Worker Permit template – which can be found here;
- An authorised person must sign the permit, i.e. CEO, an HR manager or an operations manager. Both written and electronic signatures are permitted; and
- Ask the employee to sign the permit. Both written and electronic signatures are permitted.
Penalties of up to $21,808 (for individuals) and $109,044 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the scheme or who otherwise breach the Worker Permit Scheme. There will also be on-the-spot fines of up to $1,817 (for individuals) and up to $10,904 (for businesses) for anyone who breaches the Worker Permit Scheme. This includes employers and employees who do not carry their Permitted Worker Permit when travelling to and from work.
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