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VIC: Compliance alerts, healthcare payments + WHS reminders

This article provides employers with information on:

1. Victoria’s new Child Safe Standards

2. Healthcare Worker Winter Retention and Surge Payment

3. Changes to Victoria’s Pandemic Orders

4. WorkSafe compliance updates and reminders

Victoria’s New Child Safe Standards

Changes have been made to Victoria’s Child Safe Standards (“Standards”). The new Standards come into effect from 1 July 2022 and set out minimum requirements and outline the actions organisations must take to keep children and young people safe in Victoria.

Most organisations that work or volunteer with children and young people are required to comply with the new Standards, for example:

  • Hospitals, health services, drug or alcohol treatment services, mental health services and other support services

  • Organisations that provide disability services including both organisations that are, and are not, disability service providers within the meaning Disability Act 2006

  • Out of home care services, child protection services, family violence or sexual assault services, housing services and homeless services

  • Organisations that provide early therapeutic intervention specifically for children with a disability, additional needs or developmental delay

  • Youth services, support services for parents and families

  • Youth organisations, religious bodies

  • Victorian government departments, local councils, organisations created by legislation that have functions of a public nature

  • Transport services specifically for children

  • Charities and not-for-profit organisations

  • Organisations that employ a child and that are required to hold a permit issued under the Child Employment Act 2003 for that employment

  • Many others… view full list >

Employers should review and update policies, practices and organisational culture to ensure that they meet the new Standards.

Healthcare Worker Winter Retention and Surge Payment

To recognise public healthcare workers, the Victorian Government is providing a one-off Healthcare Worker Winter Retention and Surge Payment to clinical and non-clinical healthcare staff, with additional support being offered to those who work night shifts.

All staff employed in public health services, and Ambulance Victoria will be eligible for a payment of $3,000. Part time, casual and new staff employed on or after 1 July, who are still employed on 30 September 2022, are eligible for a pro-rata equivalent of the payment. Payment will occur over two pay periods, 15 August and 30 September, with more detail to be communicated by services in the lead-up.

From 1 July to 31 December, the Healthcare Worker Wellbeing program will also expand to provide free meals and refreshments to staff working night shift. To tailor to individual needs, and ensure maximum benefit to workers, services will be given flexibility to deliver this program.

Changes to Victoria’s Pandemic Orders

From 11.59pm Friday 24 June, the following changes to Victoria’s Pandemic Orders go into effect:

  • Two-dose vaccination requirements will be lifted.

  • Third dose mandates in education, food distribution, meat and seafood processing and quarantine accommodation sectors will be lifted.

  • Third doses are still required for high risk workforces including residential aged care and disability care, healthcare, and custodial and emergency services, including police.

  • In line with other jurisdictions around Australia, vaccination policies will largely be the responsibility of individual workplaces.

  • Masks will no longer be required at airports. They will still be mandatory on aircrafts.

  • Visitor caps to care facilities are removed. Residents are able to see any number of people as long as they test negative on a rapid antigen test that day.

  • Positive cases may now leave isolation to drive a household member directly to or from education or work without leaving their vehicle.

With vaccination mandates being lifted across a range of industries in most states and territories, the onus is on individual workplaces to manage their vaccination and infection control policies.

Reminder: even when public health orders ease, employers still have a WHS duty to protect their staff from harm and maintain a COVIDSafe workplace.

Is it time to review your vaccination and infection control policy?

Read The treadmill of COVIDsafe workplace compliance >

Read Do you have a workplace vaccination policy? >

Read Reopening workplaces – are you ready? >

WorkSafe compliance updates and reminders

To review some of Victoria’s recent WHS news, read WorkSafe compliance updates and reminders >

For more information and tailored support, please contact us today.