COVID-19 :: Managing Workers

Last Updated: 19/9/2020

We are aware that the COVID-19 pandemic and the measures to contain it have the potential to significantly impact your business. To assist we have created this web hub page to provide access to information about workforce challenges arising from the pandemic impacts.

Although we are endeavouring to ensure this is kept fully up-to-date, with the rapidly changing situation, we recommend that you always review the state information direct on the relevant state website prior to making business decisions.

Jump straight to the state of interest by clicking on the state name below:

QUEENSLAND

NEW SOUTH WALES

VICTORIA

WESTERN AUSTRALIA

SOUTH AUSTRALIA

TASMANIA

Sourcing Workers

Harvest Trail Information Service

Not sure which provider to contact in your area? Whether you are looking for harvest work or needing to hire workers, you can call the Harvest Trail Information Service (HTIS) Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm on 1800 062 332 for advice.

Sourcing Workers

Seasonal Workers Programme & Pacific Labour Scheme

These two schemes are in the process of being re-started.  For a simple explanation of the difference between two please see this FACT SHEET

Seasonal Workers Programme

The Australian Government’s Seasonal Worker Programme assists employers in the agriculture and accommodation sectors to fill employment gaps unable to be met by the Australian workforce. It also contributes to the economic development of seasonal workers from nine participating Pacific Island countries and Timor-Leste.

The Seasonal Worker Programme offers employers in the agriculture sector and employers in selected locations in the accommodation sector access to a reliable, returning workforce when there is not enough local Australian labour to meet seasonal demand.

Seasonal workers benefit from the opportunity to earn Australian wages and gain valuable on-the-job learning opportunities. Many seasonal workers use the money earned in Australia to pay for their kids’ education, start a small business or build a house. For the workers and their families, this is a life changing opportunity.

On 4 April 2020, the Australian Government announced temporary changes to visa arrangements that would allow Pacific workers under the Seasonal Worker Programme and the Pacific Labour Scheme to continue working in the agriculture sector until the coronavirus crisis has passed. The new visas will enable the workers to remain in Australia and continue working to support themselves for up to 12 months. The conditions under the Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme visas will be carried over to the new visa arrangements, continuing the sponsorship arrangements between Pacific workers and their employers.

FIND OUT MORE

Pacific Labour Scheme

The Pacific Labour Scheme allows people from Pacific island countries to work in low and semi-skilled jobs in rural and regional Australia for up to 3 years.  During coronavirus, Pacific Labour Scheme participants may be able to extend their stay.

The scheme is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to strengthening Australia’s engagement with the Pacific. It’s administered by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and supported by a managing contractor.

FIND OUT MORE

Using Labour Hire Services

Labour Hire Services must be licensed in certain states. To find a licensed provider follow these links:

Queensland

https://www.labourhire.qld.gov.au/ 

To find a licensed provider – use the Qld Search Portal

As a result of recent compliance activity, the following providers are no longer permitted to provide labour hire services in Queensland:

  • Sankalp Corporation Pty Ltd (ABN 79608566534) – licence suspended from 13 August 2020,
  • P&P Land atf ASL Park Family Trust (ACN 617 315 027) – licence cancelled from 12 August 2020,
  • DJ Berry Pty Ltd (ABN 79614636663) – application withdrawn for non-compliance with notice from 26 June 2020,
  • Toorongtong Express Pty Ltd (ABN 35610809151) – licence cancelled from 25 June 2020.

We would again caution you to ensure that:

  • you check the identity and bona fides of the person approaching you to provide labour – in particular that they are authorised to bind that labour hire provider in contract.
  • by clicking on the licence number in the register, you can see the names of the persons who have been put forward as nominated and executive officers of that provider.
  • if the person approaching you is not one of those persons, you should ask further questions.
  • if you have any concerns at all, we would encourage you to call the helpline on 1300 576 088, or email  through the website.

Victoria

https://labourhireauthority.vic.gov.au/

To search the list of licensed providers – use the Search Function

South Australia

https://www.cbs.sa.gov.au/campaigns/labour-hire-laws

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Labour-Hire and WHS responsibilties

Employers or businesses, or anyone who falls under the definition of a ‘person conducting a business or  undertaking’ (a PCBU), has legal obligations under work health and safety laws.

A ‘person conducting a business or undertaking’ is a broad term used throughout work health and safety legislation to describe all forms of modern working arrangements – including labour-hire.

The primary duty of care under the model WHS Act is owed by a PCBU to a ‘worker’, which includes a labour-hire worker. All labour-hire PCBUs and host PCBUs have a primary duty of care to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of labour-hire workers engaged by, or caused to be engaged by them, or whose activities are influenced or directed by the PCBU.

This means that an employer who uses workers engaged through a labour-hire business must treat those workers as if they were direct employees with regard to ensuring they provide a COVID-19 safe environment for those workers.

This also applies to all workers including those engaged via labour-hire.  They must follow the COVID-19 safe plans provided by the host PCBU.

Case studies, demonstrating how to manage COVID-19 in different workplaces, are available on the SafeWork website

Temporary visa work arrangements

The Federal Government are making a number of changes to temporary visa holder arrangements during the coronavirus crisis in order to protect the health of our community, safeguard job opportunities for Australians, support critical industries, and assist with rapid recovery.

Employers are still required to abide by all relevant Australian workplace laws. Overseas workers, including international students, have the same rights under Australian workplace law as all other employees.

Latest news

Agriculture

The Federal Government will apply flexible arrangements to allow critical workers, including Seasonal Worker Programme and Pacific Labour Scheme participants and Working Holiday Makers, to extend their stay in Australia:

  • Seasonal Worker Programme workers with visas due to expire will be able to apply for a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa in the Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream.
  • Pacific Labour Scheme workers with visas due to expire can apply for a new Temporary Work (International Relations) (subclass 403) Pacific Labour scheme stream visa.
  • Workers currently in Australia under these programs will also be exempt from the requirement to work for a single employer and will be able to move between approved employers.

In addition, Working Holiday Makers who are working in critical sectors (eg agriculture, aged or health care) will be exempt from the 6 month work limitation with one employer and eligible for a Temporary Activity (subclass 408) visa in the Australian Government Endorsed Event (AGEE) stream.

Find out more about the subclass 408 visa

COVID-19 changes to the Horticulture Award

At the initiation of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) a new schedule will be inserted into 99 modern awards including the Horticulture Award 2010. The new schedule provides for additional entitlements as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new addition will provide an entitlement to:

  • Unpaid “pandemic” leave and
  • The flexibility to take annual leave at half pay

These variations will operate from 8 April 2020 until 30 June 2020, but may be extended.

The schedule to be inserted into the Horticulture Award is as follows:

Schedule X—Additional measures during the COVID-19 pandemic

X.1 Subject to clauses X.2.1.(d) and X.2.2(c), Schedule X operates from 8 April 2020 until 30 June 2020. The period of operation can be extended on application.

X.2 During the operation of Schedule X, the following provisions apply:

X.2.1 Unpaid pandemic leave

a) Subject to clauses X.2.1(b), (c) and (d), any employee is entitled to take up to 2 weeks’ unpaid leave if the employee is required, by government or medical authorities or acting on the advice of a medical practitioner, to self-isolate and is consequently prevented from working, or is otherwise prevented from working by measures taken by government or medical authorities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
b) The employee must give their employer notice of the taking of leave under clause X.2.1(a) and of the reason the employee requires the leave, as soon as practicable (which may be a time after the leave has started).
c) An employee who has given their employer notice of taking leave under clause X.2.1(a) must, if required by the employer, give the employer evidence that would satisfy a reasonable person that the leave is taken for a reason given in clause X.2.1(a).
d) A period of leave under clause X.2.1(a) must start before 30 June 2020, but may end after that date
e) Leave taken under clause X.2.1(a) does not affect any other paid or unpaid leave entitlement of the employee and counts as service for the purposes of entitlements under this Award and the National Employment Standards.

NOTE: The employer and employee may agree that the employee may take more than 2 weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave.

X2.2 Annual leave at half pay

a) Instead of an employee taking paid annual leave on full pay, the employee and their employer may agree to the employee taking twice as much leave on half pay
b) Any agreement to take twice as much annual leave at half pay must be recorded in writing and retained as an employee record.
c) A period of leave under clause X.2.2(a) must start before 30 June 2020, but may end after that date.

EXAMPLE: Instead of an employee taking one week’s annual leave on full pay, the employee and their employer may agree to the employee taking 2 weeks’ annual leave on half pay. In this example:

  • the employee’s pay for the 2 weeks’ leave is the same as the pay the employee would have been entitled to for one week’s leave on full pay (where one week’s full pay includes leave loading under the Annual Leave clause of this award);2 and
  • one week of leave is deducted from the employee’s annual leave accrual.

NOTE 1: A employee covered by this Award who is entitled to the benefit of clause X.2.1 or X.2.2 has a workplace right under section 341(1)(a) of the Act.

NOTE 2: Under section 340(1) of the Act, an employer must not take adverse action against an employee because the employee has a workplace right, has or has not exercised a workplace right, or proposes or does not propose to exercise a workplace right, or to prevent the employee exercising a workplace right. Under section 342(1) of the Act, an employer takes adverse action against an employee if the employer dismisses the employee, injures the employee in his or her employment, alters the position of the employee to the employee’s prejudice, or discriminates between the employee and other employees of the employer.

NOTE 3: Under section 343(1) of the Act, a person must not organise or take, or threaten to organise or take, action against another person with intent to coerce the person to exercise or not exercise, or propose to exercise or not exercise, a workplace right, or to exercise or propose to exercise a workplace right in a particular way.

Other important points

  • The Pandemic Leave entitlement will:
    • be available in full immediately – it will not accrue progressively during a year of service like annual leave or personal leave.
    • be available to full-time, part-time and casual employees. It is not pro-rated
    • it will not be necessary for employees to exhaust their paid leave entitlements before accessing Pandemic Leave.
  • Annual leave and personal leave will
    • accrue as normal during annual leave at half pay.
    • if paid, including at half pay, time will count towards service for the purposes of all NES and award entitlements.

The full FWC decision can be found HERE.

Changes to private sector employee leave entitlements – WA only

The Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission has issued a new order – it allows all State system private sector employees, including casual staff, up to two weeks’ unpaid pandemic leave to cover periods they are required to self-isolate by government or medical authorities.

Flexible provisions for annual leave are also included. Employees can double their annual leave at half pay or take annual leave in advance if agreed by their employer.

State system employers include sole traders, partnerships, unincorporated trust arrangements, and some not-for-profit bodies and incorporated associations.

The new terms will be in place until July 31, 2020, unless extended.
FIND OUT MORE

Queensland launches the #pickqld campaign

The #pickqld campaign aims to attract and retain seasonal harvest workers to support Queensland’s agriculture sector.

Campaign messaging encourages audiences to explore seasonal work and unique adventure opportunities in Queensland.

The #pickqld website connects people with essential information around seasonal work, for employers looking for seasonal workers and a link to Queensland’s Good to go campaign, aimed at helping people plan their working holiday and adventure.

The campaign will use search engine optimisation (SEO) and social media advertising to target working-holiday makers, Queenslanders looking for employment, and university students on study breaks.

For more information, visit qld.gov.au/pickqld.

Seasonal work in agribusiness and commercial fisheries during COVID-19 – access the full library of publications

Businesses employing or utilising a seasonal workforce are still required to develop and submit a Health Management Plan. This plan is required by the Queensland Government and can also be helpful in your own business to ensure you are taking necessary precautions to protect yourself, family members and staff members from Coronavirus or other virus. There are a number of resources available that can help you including:

  1. Personal Disclosure Form (to be completed by all staff) – see Berries Australia version
  2. Daily health screening routine
  3. Restriction of non-essential visitors and a register of all visitors – see Berries Australia version
  4. Clear hygiene signage at appropriate places and ample supply of hygiene supplies including soap, paper towels and alcohol-based sanitiser
  5. Optional: Downloading the Australian Governments COVIDsafe App – This can help find close contacts of COVID-19 cases. The COVIDSafe app speeds up the current manual process of finding people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. This means you’ll be contacted more quickly if you are at risk. This reduces the chances of you passing on the virus to your family, friends and other people in the community. State and territory health officials can only access app information if someone tests positive and agrees to the information in their phone being uploaded.

 Requirements for managing seasonal workforce

If you employ non-permanent staff that are working away from their permanent residence (=’seasonal workers’) you will need to submit a Health Management Plan to Queensland Health at this address: covid.plans@health.qld.gov.au .

If seasonal employees are coming up from interstate they will need :

    1. Letter from employer (your business or contractor) stating dates required for work, location of workplace and evidence and location of accommodation
    2. Border Declaration Pass (if coming from inter-state) available here
      PLEASE NOTE: These are only valid for 7 days. A separate declaration pass is required for each individual, including children, and all travellers in your party must be eligible to enter Queensland. The previous “Border Pass” is no longer valid.

If the employee is coming from a Hot Spot they must self-quarantine at their own expense for 14 days before commencing work

  • They can self-quarantine before entering Queensland, as long as they can provide evidence of self-quarantine from an interstate health authority at the border.
  • They can also self-quarantine immediately after entering Queensland. They must have already organised their self-quarantine accommodation and provide details at the border.
  • Self-quarantine means they must stay in their hotel room or provided accommodation, and not go to public places or accept visitors even if they do not feel sick.

Queensland Government officers will be undertaking audits of businesses that employ temporary visa holders and seasonal workers to confirm compliance with public health directions.

If you have supplied all of these requirements to a potential employee, who then doesn’t turn up for work, you can call Policelink on ph: 131444 with their details.

These Flow Charts below help to explain the new measures to help agribusiness access seasonal workers & temporary visa holders during the COVID-19 pandemic in Queensland
These Fact Sheets below help to explain the new measures to help agribusiness access seasonal workers & temporary visa holders during the COVID-19 pandemic in Queensland

Additional information for Queensland

Out-of-work Queenslanders can register with a new online portal aimed at linking job seekers with job opportunities.

The Queensland Government’s Jobs Finder Queensland web portal asks Queenslanders who are looking for work to provide information on their skills, location and work experience.

That information can then be readily matched to available jobs.  The initiative is part of the Government’s $4 billion package of measures to support health, jobs and business doing it tough due to COVID-19.

NSW: Managing primary production workforce

Help Harvest NSW is a webportal designed to connect displaced employees and seasonal workers with producers and growers around the state who have seasonal work available.

NSW farmers and producers have faced many challenges in recent times, including drought, flood and bushfires, and are now facing a critical staff shortage due to COVID-19 border restrictions.

Help Harvest NSW is a joint government initiative aimed at linking an available labour force with farm producers and agribusinesses across the state during the critical harvest season to address both the labour shortage, and to facilitate economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19.

The agriculture industry has a range of jobs on offer. Everything from fruit picking and grain harvesting, to working on a cattle property.

Help Harvest NSW brings together a range of information about seasonal work and how to find a job, as well as links to opportunities to upskill for a new career in the agribusiness sector.

The webportal is the main hub of this project, and the information will also be shared amongst multiple other government sites. An engagement campaign also begins today to encourage those workers displaced due to COVID-19 to consider agricultural and farm work.

Visit Help Harvest NSW for more information and to connect with farmers and producers across the state.

The NSW Government has announced new measures to ensure horticultural businesses can continue to safely operate and to protect workers from COVID-19. One important step to protect you and your staff is to ensure you have a COVID-19 Safety Plan: agriculture (PDF, 190.32 KB) in place.

Managing Primary Production workers

Access the NSW website for more detail

RECENT COVID-19 UPDATES AND CHANGES 

The DPI COVID-19 Concierge response is continuing to work with, and advocate for, our industry partners.

The DPI COVID-19 webportal is updated as information becomes available.

INTRODUCTION OF A CRITICAL SERVICES (AGRICULTURE) PERMIT  

Following on from Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW, Adam Marshall’s announcement, from 19 August 2020 farmers and critical agricultural workers who reside outside the Border Region Zone in Victoria will now have a new pathway to enter NSW and move outside the ‘border bubble’ for work.

Under the amended Public Health Order, farmers, vets and critical agricultural workers who reside outside the Border Region Zone in Victoria, but within 100km of the border, may be eligible for a new permit which allows for movement but only within 100km north of the border into NSW.

Critical service agriculture worker 

A critical service agriculture worker is a Victorian resident who is employed in an agricultural or primary production industry in New South Wales to provide a critical agriculture service.

A critical agricultural service must: 

  • not be able to be provided remotely
  • not be available in New South Wales within a 100km radius of the place where the service is provided.

If you are a critical service agriculture worker, you must: 

  • travel by the most practicable direct route to where the service is provided and your home or accommodation
  • self-isolate except when providing the critical service
  • comply with the relevant COVID-19 Safety Plan – please note that here is a new COVID Business Safety Plan for this permit with additional stringent conditions
  • not travel more than 100km north of the border
  • have documentary evidence that the critical service meets the criteria (this must be signed by the head of the organisation that employs you or if you are self-employed, the person you are providing the service to)

You must not enter New South Wales if within the previous 14 days you have: 

  • been in a restricted area
  • travelled more than 100km south of the border.

Types of critical service agriculture workers eligible for a permit:

  • Dairy technicians, Dairy consultants, Artificial Insemination Specialists
  • Horticultural technicians, machinery operators and mechanics, harvesters, pruners. Horticultural consultants for agronomy, plant health, harvest management, pest and disease
  • Wool testing technicians, shearers
  • Specialist consultants – agronomists, nutritionists, veterinary, seed and crop researchers. Agribusiness specialists for where internet or video conference facilities cannot be accessed
  • Crop harvesters, hay and silage contractors, rice sowing contractors, crop spray/fertilizer contractors
  • Forestry workers/technicians
  • Intensive livestock piggery/poultry (egg and broiler) technicians, processing workers, stockfeed mill operators
  • Specialist contractors/equipment – Irrigation specialists, fencing contractors
  • Specialist agricultural service providers – market access inspectors, saleyard operators and agents, livestock carriers
  • Commercial fishing crew and operators, Aquaculture operators/technicians
  • Beekeepers – commercial operators
  • Commercial Wine Production – technicians, specialists involved in the production, harvest, testing and management of vintage
  • Biosecurity Officers – pest trap inspectors, pest and weed controllers
  • Cross-border rural property landowners, leaseholders, agistment holders or their agents directly involved in or responsible for land management, livestock husbandry, agronomy pest and disease control and production management
  • Bushfire recovery workers.

For more information regarding eligibility and how to apply for a Highly Specialised Critical Services (Agriculture) Permit, visit Service NSW.
HIGHLY SPECIALISED CRITICAL SERVICE PERMIT  

Please note that the Highly Specialised Critical Service permit announced on 7 August 2020 is still available. Visit the NSW Government website for more information.

Under this permit, the criteria remains as follows: 

A person providing a critical service, being a critical service that is highly specialised and

(a) not able to provided by the person remotely, and

(b) for a person providing the critical service in NSW – not available in NSW in the same or substantially the same form, and

(c) for a person providing the critical service in Victoria – not available in Victoria in the same or substantially the same form.

The person must: 

(a) travel to New South Wales by aircraft landing at Sydney Airport, and

(b) self-isolate except when providing the critical service, and

(c) have documentary evidence that the critical service meets the criteria and signed by

  • the head of the organisation that employs the person, or
  • if the person is self-employed – the person to whom the critical service is provided

The following Flow Charts have been developed by the New South Wales Government to help employers and employees to understand the new requirements and responsibilities.

These are the latest versions

Workplace health and safety legal requirements

Under the workplace health and safety law, all employers or businesses are required to manage the risk of COVID-19 to workers and others in the work environment. In NSW, employers have a work health and safety obligation to protect workers to a level that is deemed as reasonably practicable for workplace diseases including COVID-19.

Reasonably practicable is a legal requirement. It means doing what you are reasonably able to do to ensure the health and safety of workers and others like volunteers and visitors. Basically, employers and businesses always need to try to eliminate, so far as is reasonable and practicable, any health and safety risks in the workplace, including COVID-19.

Businesses and workers must:

1. Comply with national and state public health directions

2. Promote simple but effective social distancing and hygiene measures

3. Cease non-essential work activities that involve close personal contact (less than 1.5m)

4. Implement controls to reduce direct contact with workers and customers, including:

  • social distancing of at least 1.5metres (1 person per 4sqm indoors)
  • barriers to create space between workstations, seated areas etc.
  • modifying shifts and rosters to reduce peak periods
  • actively supporting flexible work arrangements, including working from home.

5. Implement controls to reduce environmental exposure, including:

  • inspecting and reviewing air conditioning and ventilation systems
  • increasing cleaning and disinfection of high traffic areas or shared surfaces
  • provide cleaning products and instruction for cleaning workspaces
  • provide instruction and amenities for personal hygiene and infection control

6. Businesses are required to notify both SafeWork NSW and their Workers Compensation Insurer of serious illnesses (including COVID-19) arising out of work. See below for steps to take for a suspected COVID-19 case

Steps for employers to take for a suspected COVID-19 case

Step 1: Isolate the person from others and provide a disposable surgical mask for the person to wear.
Step 2: Call the NSW COVID-19 helpline 1300 066 055 and follow their instructions. Also, notify SafeWork NSW on 13 10 50.
Step 3: Ensure that the person has transport home or to a medical facility. Workers assisting the person who has suspected or confirmed with COVID-19 should be provided with appropriate PPE, if available, such as gloves and a mask. They should also follow hand hygiene procedures.
Step 4: Call your Workers Compensation Insurer (within 48 hours) to notify of the possible workplace serious illness.
Step 5: Clean the area where the person was working and all places they have been and surfaces or tools they may have touched. Use PPE and a suitable disinfectant when cleaning. Document cleaning.
Step 6: Identify who at the workplace has had close contact with the infected person in the 48 hours before that infected person started showing symptoms. Send those employees home to isolate for 14 days. If, after 14 days they have not shown symptoms of COVID-19 they may return to work. If they show symptoms, they should ring the national COVID-19 hotline (1800 020 080). Follow the advice of health officials.

A close contact is considered as:
• an employee who has had greater than 15 minutes cumulative face-to-face contact in any setting over the course of a week in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms OR
• sharing of a closed space with a confirmed or probable case for a prolonged period (e.g. more than 2 hours) in the period extending from 48 hours before onset of symptoms in the confirmed or probable case

Step 7: Clean the areas where the close contact people were working and all common areas where they have been or surfaces and tools they may have touched. Use PPE and a suitable disinfectant when cleaning. Document cleaning.
Step 8: Review risk management controls relating to COVID-19 and review whether work or processes may need to change. Keep employees up to date on what is happening.

Note: From a WHS perspective, there is not an automatic requirement to close an entire workplace, particularly if the person infected, or suspected to be infected, has only visited parts of the workplace.

Information for employers providing accommodation in NSW

If you, as an employer are responsible for providing accommodation for your employees, ensure that the accommodation that you are providing adheres to the social distancing requirements outlined in the NSW Public Health Order and has appropriate plans in place to deal with suspected and confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Below are some key questions to ask and consider when choosing accommodation providers:

1. Will your employees have to share kitchen facilities with those outside of their room, dorm etc.? if so, is there a roster system for shared kitchen facilities.
2. Will your employees have to share bathroom facilities with those outside of their room, dorm etc.? If so, how many people must share bathroom facilities? And can segregation of guests be implemented at all? For example, Male and Female, dorms or rooms allocated certain bathroom facilities?
3. What cleaning and sanitation plans are being implemented for all shared areas that your employee may need to use?
4. What other measures will be implemented to reduce the risk of contamination and spread of COVID 19 to your employee?

If you cannot provide accommodation that adheres to the social distancing measures, then you should contact your local council who may be able to assist in finding suitable accommodation for workers.

For more information CLICK HERE

Information for keeping employees safe while travelling in NSW

Travelling for work remains an essential activity and sometimes the sharing of vehicles will be unavoidable. To keep your employees safe whilst travelling for work ensure that when they are sharing vehicles or car-pooling, they are implementing steps to reduce the risk. Strong hygiene and cleaning measures should be implemented.

With the seasonal start of some prime NSW fruit and vegetables, there will be an increase in the movement of seasonal workers between regions and from metropolitan areas in response to work availability. It is critical to minimise the potential risk of spread of COVID-19 to the regional communities’ that workers travel to and temporarily reside in. It’s also critical to minimise the spread amongst the workers. One risk pathway is the transportation of workers to, from and around the workplace.

For more information CLICK HERE

NSW Summary

COVID-19: Managing workers in primary production in VICTORIA

Under the restrictions in Metropolitan Melbourne, and regional Victoria, Agriculture is a permitted workplace. Rules still apply:

  • If you can work from home you must work from home
  • If your employees can work from home, you must support them to work from home
  • You need a permit to leave home for work and the permit requires your employer to state you cannot work remotely
  • Any onsite functions must operate under the minimum obligations to reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) including having a COVID Safe plan in place
  • For operational guidance and frequently asked questions for businesses and industries visit Business Victoria
  • Masks are mandatory in Victoria

All businesses permitted to operate, including in regional Victoria, must have a COVID Safe plan in place. For more information and to download the template and guidance

Everyone working in a permitted workplace must have a Permitted worker permit. For more information and to download the template

The Victorian Government has put in place an Agriculture Workforce Plan to support businesses in rural, regional and outer metropolitan areas of Victoria.

The plan assists with recruitment support and financial support for:

  • Worker relocation and transport
  • Worker induction and training
  • Business adaptation

It is part of the Working for Victoria Fund, which helps people who have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic to find new employment opportunities. Businesses across Victoria can register online and access the pool of jobseekers.

There are currently approximately 70,000 jobseekers registered on the site.  For more information on this support

Growers looking to fill vacancies are also encouraged to advertise positions on the Harvest Trail website

Information about restriction levels and the Roadmaps to Reopening for Metropolitan Melbourne and Regional Victoria can be found HERE

COVID-19: Managing workers in WA

Resources for managing your business during COVID-19

Information for businesses can be found here

Minimising risk of COVID-19 Factsheet can be found here

Safety plans

Safety plans are recommended for all businesses.  If you have a café onsite, you must develop a safety plan prior to allowing patrons to eat and drink on site.

For more information on developing safety plans and your obligations please refer here

https://www.wa.gov.au/organisation/department-of-the-premier-and-cabinet/covid-19-coronavirus-business-and-industry-advice#covid-safety-plans

Generic Phase 3 safety plan can be found here

https://www.wa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-05/COVID-19-Safety-Plan-Phase-3-Generic.pdf

Other information

Reminder of legal obligations in employment of workers

https://www.fairwork.gov.au/how-we-will-help/helping-the-community/campaigns/national-campaigns/harvest-trail-inquiry

If you are having trouble finding workers please refer to the following websites for information

https://www.dpird.wa.gov.au/securing-labour-supply

https://www.jobsinwafoodandag.com/

https://studium.work/wa-regions

For more information on sourcing workers please contact the team via support@studium.work.com.

The service is free and will be fully funded up until October 2020 to help WA’s horticulture industries to source workers.

COVID-19: Managing workers in South Australia

South Australian agricultural employers are directed to follow the National COVID-19 safe workplace principles

COVID-19: Managing workers in Tasmania

In Tasmania, all workplaces that are reopening due to the relaxing of restrictions must have a COVID-19 Safety Plan in place before they reopen.
All other workplaces that have continued to operate throughout the pandemic must complete a COVID-19 Safety Plan by Monday 15 June 2020.

The COVID Safe Workplace Guidelines set out what Agriculture employers should do as they continue, or seek to resume, business operations. By following these guidelines you will be able to show how you will comply with minimum standards determined by Public Health, and with the requirements of the Work Health and Safety Act.

This will help keep your workers and others safe from COVID-19. Workplaces that do not show compliance with the standards may be subject to enforcement actions.

COVID-19 Safety plans should detail social distancing and COVID safety measures being implemented within the business. These measures must outline work activities and associated COVID-19 safety measures to be undertaken by staff.

WorkSafe Tasmania also strongly encourages business operators to review these safety plans regularly to ensure the activities and safety measures remain appropriate, and ensure appropriate control measures before initiating any new seasonal activities.

How do I develop a COVID-19 Safety Plan?

Your COVID-19 Safety Plan will depend on the size and nature of your workplace. Checklists and templates are available to help you develop your workplace COVID-19 Safety Plans. These will provide businesses and workplaces already operating, or those preparing to reopen when safe, a chance to review existing practices and prepare themselves for when restrictions are relaxed.

In addition, Safe Workplace Guidelines are being developed for sectors and workplaces, through consultation with industry sectors. These will act as a practical guide on how your workplace can meet the Minimum Standards. The Sector Workplace Guidelines will be released as they are developed.

Webinar: hosted by Business Tasmania on how to complete your COVID-19 Safety Plan – watch this now on YouTube

More information

About TAS COVID-19 Safety Framework
List of Safe Workplace Guidelines
View COVID-19 Workplace Checklist
Safety plan – small business template
Safety plan – medium business template