Avoiding a fine: How can I prove my essential work travel?


Essential worker driving, seen through side mirror. COVID-19 update for employers and employees by WorkPlacePLUS.

This article is about NSW & VIC's authorised provider and authorised worker permit schemes. Readers from other jurisdictions should refer to our article Should my staff come to work or stay home? >


NSW


In NSW, a ‘workers permit’ for authorised workers means registering your travel.

The following new restrictions around workplaces and authorised workers from the LGAs of concern have been introduced, effective 28 August, 2021:

  • Authorised workers from the LGAs of concern are required to carry a permit from Service NSW declaring that they are an authorised worker and cannot work from home.

  • Anyone entering an LGA of concern for the purposes of work must carry a worker permit issued by Service NSW.

From 28 August 2021, you will need to register your travel within NSW if you are:

  • An authorised worker living in a local government area of concern and you need to leave your area for work

  • Entering a local government area of concern to carry out work in the area of concern.

You are not required to register your travel in order to provide an emergency service.

It is also important to note that, effective 30 August 2021, if an employee who is an authorised worker lives in or is temporarily staying in a LGA of concern, they must not leave their local government area for work unless they have: 

  • had at least 1 dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, or 

  • evidence of a medical exemption, or 

  • evidence of COVID-19 testing as part of a COVID-19 rapid antigen testing program approved by the Chief Health Officer. 

Authorised workers who are unable to have a COVID-19 vaccine can request a COVID-19 vaccination exemption for medical reasons. 


VIC


Workplaces in Victoria must not permit workers to undertake work at the workplace unless:

  • the workplace is an authorised provider or service, or

  • all employees are working from home.

View/download a list of authorised providers, authorised workers and authorised health services >


From 11:59pm on Tuesday 17 August, employers that require their staff to attend a work site must issue a worker permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility.


Penalties of up to $21,808 (for individuals) and $109,044 (for businesses) will apply to employers who issue worker permits to employees who do not meet the requirements of the worker permit scheme or who otherwise breach the scheme requirements.


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 scheme requirements. This includes employers and employees who do not carry their worker permit when travelling to and from work.


Employers can issue a worker permit to their employee if:

  • the organisation is on the list of authorised providers, workers and health services

  • 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 or health care workers who carry employer-issued photographic identification, which clearly identifies the employer. A list of these exceptions is available here.

An employee must not use a worker permit and must not attend work, even if they have been issued a permit, if they test positive to COVID-19 and are required to self-isolate, or they are a close contact of someone who has tested positive and are required to self-isolate.


The coronavirus.vic.gov.au website contains additional information and details on the following work categories:

  • Casual workers

  • Shift work

  • Working across multiple sites

  • Working from home

  • Transport to and from work

  • Sole traders

  • Sub contractors

  • Franchisees

  • International or national organisations

For more information on Victoria's current authorised worker permit scheme, visit https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/authorised-provider-and-authorised-worker-permit


WorkPlacePLUS remains open for business and is available to assist you with your HR and employment concerns during the COVID-19 crisis. For more information and tailored support, please contact us today.