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COVID-19 Metro-Regional Work Travel permit in Victoria

September 10, 2020

From midnight on Wednesday 28 October 2020 businesses that need their workers to travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria in either direction are required to issue their workers with a Metro-Regional travel permit. A worker permit is needed to allow workers to cross the ring of steel and must be carried along with photo identification at all times. Worker permits will no longer be required for workers who reside and work in the Melbourne metropolitan area.

Metro-Regional Work Travel permit

You must use the Metro-Regional Travel permit provided by the Victorian government. Do not attempt to create your own version of the worker permit. You should not include any additional information. If you have already issued your workers with a permit under the previous Permitted Worker scheme those permits can continue to be used for the purposes of travelling between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. 

The worker permit must be signed by both the employer and employee and it should be sent electronically to ensure that a record of the worker’s permit being provided is available to both the employer and employee.  The form can be signed electronically.

Employer (including Builders) Obligations

Employers must:

  • not permit workers who are able to perform their work from home to travel to a Work Premises and 
  • take all reasonable steps to avoid requiring an employee to attend the Work Premises. 

It is the employer’s responsibility to make sure that it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to work from home and therefore entitled to attend the Work Premises and be issued with a worker permit.  

Who signs the Permitted Worker Permit?

The worker permit must be signed by an authorised representative of the employer.  This may be the CEO, a human resources manager, an operations manager or a site manager.  The person who signs the worker permit must be available and able to respond to questions from police or other authorised officers.  The person signing the worker permit for the employer is also responsible for the content of that permit.

Employee Obligations

Employees must carry the worker permit and should carry photo identification when travelling to and from the work site. A worker permit can be shown electronically to authorities such as a photo, or scanned copy, or on a mobile device.

The employee must also:

  • sign the permit. This can be done electronically by a digital signature. 
  • record the workplaces they visit if they need to attend multiple workplaces.

An employee cannot rely on a worker permit if they have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.  

Subcontractor Obligations

Subcontractors are not employees and therefore another business cannot provide a permit to a contractor.  

Subcontractors are operating their own business and must issue their own worker permit either for themselves or their employees if travel is required between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. 

Sole traders

If you are a sole trader you must issue a worker permit to yourself if travel is required between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.  You can sign a worker permit as both the employer and employee.

If you employ people you will need provide them with a worker permit if they are required to travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.  

Partnerships

If you are a partner of a partnership you must issue a worker permit for yourself if travel is required between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria. You can sign a worker permit as both the employer and employee.

If you employ people you will need provide them with a worker permit if they are required to travel between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.  

Companies

If you operate as a company and work as a director you can sign a worker permit as both the employer and employee.

If you employ people you will need provide them with a worker permit if travel is required between metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.  

Compliance and Enforcement

There are significant fines for employers and employees who do not comply with this system.  There are on-the-spot fines of $1,652 (for individuals) and up to $9,913 (for businesses).

It is also an offence for an employer to issue a worker permit when they do not meet the requirements of the scheme. A fine of up to $19,826 may be imposed. In this situation a workers permit will be invalid and the worker will probably be fined as well.

Further information about the worker permit system can be found here

If you have any questions or are having difficulty accessing the Worker Permit please contact a HIA Workplace Adviser on 1300 650 620 for assistance.