Permitted Worker Scheme – COVID-19
The Victorian government requires disability services to adhere to the Permitted Worker Scheme – COVID-19, which takes effect from 11:59 pm tonight across the Melbourne metropolitan area.
Community support services, including disability support required to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people, are permitted to continue operating.
While health workers may simply rely on photographic identification, disability workers require a permit issued by their employer. NDS appreciates the significant impost the Scheme places on disability services and we will continue to seek the same recognition as health workers.
Both state and NDIS funded providers need to comply with the Permitted Worker Scheme and directions from the Chief Health Officer for the management and control of coronavirus (COVID-19).
The DHHS fact sheet outlines the responsibilities of employers
Employers must arrange for a nominated staff member at each worksite to fill out and sign the permit template (an electronic signature is permissible) provided on the Permitted Worker Scheme webpage.
Employer information required to issue permits:
- 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
- The permit meets all eligibility criteria, including that the activities undertaken by the worker are permitted activities
- The employer meets all relevant legal obligations
- The employer has a COVID-19 safe plan in place
- The employer authorises appropriate staff to issue the worker permit to all workers attending a work site.
DHHS notes that employers may adapt the template to reflect conditions such as split shifts and other shift arrangements.
The following areas are also addressed:
Casual workers: For workers who do not have regular hours, employers need to issue separate worker permits for new rostered periods, specifying the dates and hours of work.
Unexpected changes to shifts: For unexpected shift changes workers must continue to carry their existing permit so that authorities can verify the current shift arrangement with the nominated staff member.
Working across multiple sites: Employers need to nominate appropriate staff at each worksite to issue permits to workers. The nominated staff must be prepared to be contacted when authorities seek to verify permit conditions.
Sole providers: Sole providers must issue and sign a worker permit as both employer and employee.
Sub-contractors at a worksite: Determine if a sub-contractor needs to be on-site and whether this arrangement may cease for the duration of the restricted period. If it cannot, all workers involved in permitted activities at a worksite need to be issued with a worker permit.
Labour hire: If you use labour-hire firms, those employers may need to issue permitted worker permits for specified date ranges for employees who do not have regular hours.
DHHS notes the following in relation to workers:
- Always carry a worker permit
- The permit must be signed (an electronic signature is permissible)
- Carry the worker permit together with photo identification when travelling to and from a worksite. A permitted worker permit can be shown electronically to authorities such as a photo, or scanned copy, or on a mobile device.
- When unexpected shift changes occur, a worker needs to continue to carry their existing worker permit to enable authorities to verify with the employer that the worker is on their way to or from work.
- If a worker is unable to transport themselves to a worksite, an adult may travel without a permit when transporting a worker to a worksite. The worker will have a worker permit that can be used by authorities to verify the reason for travel.