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COVID-19 Business Continuity – Victoria goes into lockdown – 12 February 2021

Victorian Premier Dan Andrews announced this afternoon that Victoria will go into a 5-day “circuit breaker” lockdown from tonight, 11:59pm Friday 12 February until 11:59pm Wednesday 17 February 2021.

In this briefing:

  1. Key points of the Victorian restrictions
  2. Impacts to key industries
  3. Paying your employees during lockdown
  4. Coaching continues via Zoom

Key points of Victorian restrictions

At this time, the details of the Victorian restrictions are limited but the headlines are:

  • You must stay within 5km of your home other than for 4 permitted reasons:
    1. Permitted work – see industry sectors below.
    2. Shopping for things you need;
    3. Care giving for compassionate reasons;
    4. Exercise for up to 2 hours per day
  • Masks must be worn everywhere other than in your home.
  • Schools will be closed until Thursday.
  • No work permits or travel permits are required for this lockdown. The reason given is that the period of lockdown is too short to get the system up and running.

Tenfold Client Industry Sectors

We have been able to source a copy of the restrictions – see here: https://www.premier.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-02/210212%20-%20Table%20of%20restrictions.pdf

Our preliminary interpretation of the restrictions to key sectors that Tenfold clients operate in are:

Manufacturing / Distribution
See essential worker “p” as to what services are allowed to open:

p. a factory or facility that is not able to be shut down without causing damage or loss to plant and equipment, but only those operations that are necessary in order to prevent that damage or loss;

We take this to mean all manufacturing including food manufacturing is to shut down, except where the factory has been designed to run 24/7 continuously.

Food distribution is allowed to continue operations during lock down.

Construction
See essential worker “q” as to what services are allowed to open:

q. mining, building or construction services for critical infrastructure work, which includes, for the avoidance of doubt, road construction services;

We believe this means the construction sector (unlike last time) is shut down.

Services in the home
See essential workers “f” & “t” as to what services are allowed to open:

f. emergency repair workers;

t. organisations that provide urgent services necessary for the health and safety of any person, animal or premises. Example: the performance of emergency plumbing services.

We take this to mean that an urgent plumbing or urgent electrical repair would be considered an essential service.

We believe all other services in the home are not allowed (such as installations, renovations, and general non-emergency repair services).

General Office
See essential worker “s” as to what services are allowed to open:

s. administrative services provided by an employer to enable its employees to work from home. Example: Payroll and IT services.

This would mean that your employees in IT and finance roles can attend the office to administer payroll and enable WFH.

This is a preliminary interpretation of the “circuit breaker” restrictions, and if we get more information, we’ll let you know. Please also refer to your industry association, especially their social media channels.

As always, your coach is available to support you get through this time.

Paying your employees during lock down

In relation to how you should manage payroll entitlements for the three day period from Monday 15/2 to Wednesday 17/2, there is clear information on the Fair Work website:

See the Fair Work website here: https://coronavirus.fairwork.gov.au/coronavirus-and-australian-workplace-laws/stand-down-during-coronavirus#enforceable-government-directions

As a result of these government enforced lockdowns over the past 12 months, we have a much clearer perspective on how to treat these situations. If your employees cannot work from home, you have several options to consider: You can allow them to take annual leave for the lockdown days.  If they don’t have leave or don’t want to take leave then this time can count as leave without pay.

One thing to note: consider the cost to your business if you were to pay them (even for 1 or 2 of the lockdown days) and whether this might be a good investment to foster stronger loyalty and commitment from your employees.

Business coaching continues via Zoom

Coaching will continue via Zoom next week as scheduled, and any sessions that had planned to be held at the Tenfold offices will be held via Zoom.

I’ll provide more updates as they become available. Please reach out to your coach if you have any questions about your eligibility to operate over this five-day lockdown period.

Ash

Ashley Thomson B.Eng(Hons), Grad. Dip. Mgmt, MEI
Managing Director
Tenfold Business Coaching

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