From Monday 18 January 2021 more office workers will be able to make a partial return to the office.

In line with previous announcements, up to 50 per cent of office workers who are not in the public service will be able to return to on-site work as well as up to 25 per cent of public service workers.

Offices with fewer than 40 staff can have 20 staff on-site subject to density quotients.

Additionally, from Monday 18 January 2021 face masks will no longer be required to be worn in offices.

Face masks will continue to be mandatory in the following locations:

  • on public transport
  • when riding in a ride share or taxi
  • inside shopping centres, including the retail stores inside shopping centres, such as clothing stores
  • inside indoor markets
  • in large retail stores (over 2000 sqm), such as department stores, electronics stores, furniture stores, hardware stores or supermarkets
  • on domestic flights to and from Victoria
  • at airports
  • in hospitals.

You must always carry a face mask with you when you leave home unless you have a lawful reason not to. Masks are strongly recommended whenever it is not possible to keep 1.5 metres distance from others.

Record keeping requirements for workplaces will remain unchanged, which means that an employer must keep a record of all workers and all visitors who attend the premises for longer than 15 minutes.

The total number of workers permitted on-site at any one time is subject to a density quotient of one person per two square metres in common areas. This includes areas such as open plan offices, tearooms, bathrooms and meeting rooms.

The return to work cap includes all workers, employees, subcontractors (and their workers), volunteers, and any other person engaged or permitted by an employer to perform work at the work premises (for example, consultants) who can work from home. Under the return to work cap, employers can change which workers they allow on-site each day.

When permitted under worker awards, enterprise agreements or employment contracts, start and finish times should be staggered to reduce the congregation of workers around entrances, lifts, stairwells and other high-traffic areas.

Employers must allow workers to work from home if they can.

More information is available at coronavirus.vic.gov.au, or by calling Business Victoria on 13 22 15.