Workplace and Industrial Relations
For information and assistance on any aspect of your employment obligations, members an access the Victorian Chamber Workplace Relations Advice Line on 03 8662 5222.
Members also have access to a suite of templates, policies and procedures, including resources on how to communicate mandatory vaccinations in the workplace.
We have also set up a dedicated Industrial Relations Support service for non-members to receive support for industrial relations matters. The service will include over-the-phone advice, webinars, fact sheets, newsletters, and other resources.
Face masks in the workplace
Anyone 12 years and over must wear a fitted face mask whenever they leave their home, indoors or outdoors, unless lawful exception applies.
If you are an Authorised Worker and work in an office, you still must wear a face mask. However, if you are working alone, you do not need to wear a face mask unless someone else enters the room.
More information on when you are required to wear a face mask can be found on the Victorian Government’s website.
COVID-19 vaccinations and the workplace
On 1 October 2021, the Premier announced that all workers on the Authorised Worker list in Melbourne and regional Victoria will be required to have their first COVID-19 vaccination dose by Friday 15 October 2021 in order to continue working onsite.
The Premier also confirmed Authorised Workers would be required to have their second COVID-19 vaccination by Friday 26 November 2021.
Based on the announcement, the requirement will not apply to all employees of an Authorised Provider - it will only apply to those who cannot work from home, and who are currently permitted to work on site.
Detailed information is yet to be released through directions made by Victoria’s Chief Health Officer (CHO), as to how these requirements will be implemented.
In the meantime, the Victorian Chamber is recommending that employers take the opportunity to remind Authorised Workers that the announcement was made and what they anticipate will be involved (including the key dates for vaccination and evidence requirements).
Some industries such as construction, freight, healthcare, aged care, and education already require their employees to be vaccinated.
The 15 October deadline will not apply to workers who already have existing requirements under CHO directions. These groups will still have to comply with previous advice. A full list of industries and advice for employers in these industries is available via the Victorian Government’s website.
Currently there is no formal directives for other industries that are not on the Authorised Work list but are due to re-open when vaccination targets are met (e.g. hair and beauty services). We will update this page when more information is available.
The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry has prepared a comprehensive 'COVID-19 Vaccinations and the Workplace Guide' for employers (updated on 11 October). The guide explains how employers can play their part in the vaccine roll out (including those who are not subject to mandated vaccinations) and how to navigate issues related to vaccinations that may arise in the workplace. You can download the guide in the resources section below. This document will continue to be updated as more information becomes available.
QR codes, signage and posters in the workplace
Every Victorian business must use the Victorian Government QR Code Service to check-in their workers, customers and visitors, with some limited exemptions. Victorians must check-in everywhere, every time. Businesses must ensure that every worker, customer and visitor has checked-in, no matter how long they are at the premises.
A collection of templates, questionnaires, signage and posters to promote a COVIDSafe workplace are available from the Victorian Government’s website.
Mental health and wellbeing
Employers have a duty of care to do what they can, within reason, to protect staff from COVID-19. These include communicating the Department of Health’s hygiene and self-isolation guidelines to staff and knowing which of your staff has a higher risk of serious illness from contracting the virus.
These difficult times will also have an effect on the mental health of you and your staff, and there are resources to help. The Victorian Chamber’s expert Health Safety and Wellbeing team has put together some resources to help support yourself and staff through this time.
Authorised Worker Permit System
Workplaces in Victoria must not permit workers to undertake work at the workplace unless it an authorised provider or service, or workers are authorised (visit Victorian Government website to see a list of authorised providers and workers).
Employers that require their staff to attend a work site must issue a worker permit to their employees – this is the employer’s responsibility. Sole traders must issue a worker permit and sign the worker permit as both the employer and employee.
The permit also allows parents and guardians to access childcare, kindergarten and early education centres.
Download a permit from the Victorian Government website.
Victorian Travel Permit System
You will need to apply for a permit to enter Victoria from anywhere in Australia.
The permit system is based on a traffic light system that allows for areas across Australia to be designated as green, orange, or red according to their risk.
The permit system is for both travellers to Victoria and residents of Victoria returning home from interstate travel.
For more information, head to the Government’s website. To apply for a permit, head to the Services Australia website.
Specified worker permits to enter Victoria are available to workers in certain industries.
Depending on the zone you have been in, a number of important conditions may apply – including the need to get tested regularly and quarantine when not working. Further information is available from the Victorian Government’s website.
Businesses can now call a Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15 for the latest information on the COVID-19 response, how this affects businesses, how to keep their workplace safe and advice on how to plan for emerging situations and anticipate likely developments. Businesses can call the Business Victoria Hotline for the latest information on QR code requirements.