As everyone is aware, Melbourne is now subject to Stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions, which impose significant responsibilities on businesses.
As of 11.59pm on Wednesday 5 August, workplaces in Melbourne MUST be closed unless:
All Victorians are required to work from home, except where this is not practicable. Sole operators can continue to operate, if they do not have contact with the public, or with people other than those persons living in their primary household.
mployers for Permitted Work Premises are only permitted to have employees on-site if it is not reasonably practicable for the employee to work from home and the employer and employee comply with the Directions currently in force, including the Workplace Directions and the Permitted Worker Permit Scheme Directions.
Where a Permitted Work Premises is able to operate on-site, additional restrictions may apply as listed below and in the Directions.
To avoid doubt, the following are Permitted Work Premises in the following circumstances:
As an employer, if you require employees to attend a work site, you must provide them with a Permitted Worker Permit.
Penalties of up of $19,826 for individuals and $99,132 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 breach the scheme requirements).
The employee must carry a copy of the Permit with them at all times on the way to and from work, and while on-site. There are on the spot fines of $1,652 for individuals and $9,913 for businesses for not carrying the worker permit when travelling to and from work.
You can only issue a work permit to an employee if:
To issue a permit:
Employees must carry the permit and photo ID when travelling to and from the workplace.
If you are one of the certain services and industries that is able to remain open, you are required by law to have a COVID Safe Plan. You cannot issue a Worker Permit without one.
Your COVID Safe Plan must be in place by 11.59pm on Friday 7 August, and must set out:
The Victorian State Government has created Resources to help draft a COVID Safe Plan:
As part of these regulations, an employer or self-employed person must immediately notify WorkSafe if:
The infectious period is the period from 14 days prior to receiving the positive test, until clearance from isolation has been given.
Failure to notify WorkSafe will attract a penalty of up to $39,652 for individuals and $198,264 for a business.
The Victorian Government has established an economic survival package to support Victorian businesses and workers through the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The $1.7 billion Economic Survival Package complements the work of the Federal Government. The package includes the following key programs:
Businesses with annual taxable wages up to $3 million will have their payroll tax for the 2019-20 financial year waived. This will support 24,000 businesses and up to 400,000 workers. The State Revenue Office will directly contact eligible businesses to reimburse them for payroll tax already paid in the financial year. Eligible businesses must continue to lodge returns but do not need to make further payments for this financial year. These businesses can also defer paying payroll tax for the first quarter of the 2020-2021 financial year. More information about the administration of these relief measures will be sent directly to eligible businesses. Visit www.sro.vic.gov.au
The $500 million Business Support Fund will support the hardest hit sectors, including hospitality, tourism, accommodation, arts and entertainment, and retail. The Government will work with the Victorian Chamber, Australian Hotels Association and Australian Industry Group to deliver the Fund, which will help these businesses – which may not be eligible for payroll tax refunds due to their size – survive and keep people in work. Visit www.business.vic.gov.au
Under the $500 million Working for Victoria Fund, displaced workers will be eligible to apply for different types of work. This presents opportunities for paid work and an opportunity to contribute to Victoria’s ability to manage this event and support the community. Some displaced workers will have skills that can be readily transferred to new roles. The Government can also assist skills development or help people in obtaining immediate accreditation to commence work. The Government will work across the public sector, local government, the not-for-profit sector and key private sector employers to facilitate job matching. Visit www.vic.gov.au/workingforvictoria
Landowners that have at least one nonresidential property and total taxable landholdings below $1million have the option of deferring their 2020 land tax payment until after 31 December 2020. The State Revenue Office will contact all taxpayers who are eligible for this deferral. Visit www.sro.vic.gov.au
The Government will pay all outstanding supplier invoices within five business days –releasing up to $750 million into the economy earlier. The private sector is urged to do the same where possible.
The Government will work directly with commercial tenants in government buildings who can apply for rent relief. Private landlords are also being encouraged to provide rent relief or holidays to help businesses.
Businesses across the state can now access information on dealing with COVID-19 by calling the Business Victoria hotline on 13 22 15. For further information, visit: