If you’re employing seasonal workers in Queensland, there are some things you need to do for the health and safety of your team, during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Many of these should also be addressed by employers without seasonal workers too, without the requirement to submit a Workplace Health Management Plan.)

There is a wealth of information at the Business Queensland website on this topic, which we’ve broken down for you. It’s important to remember that you’ll need to apply this information to your specific business, so although overviews are helpful, please seek advice about your specific circumstances.

Queensland employers have been relatively fortunate that the COVID-19 crisis hasn’t hit as hard as it has in other States in Australia, or across the globe. Despite that, it’s important that employers have appropriate safety measures in place to protect your workforce from COVID-19.

There are many seasonal businesses that will be relying on workers from interstate to help pick their crops etc. throughout the year. It is MANDATORY that you have a Workplace Health Management Plan, which should include how you:

  • describe the health screening steps you will implement for employees—you are required to undertake pre-employment screening and daily checks of your employees to determine the presence/absence of COVID-19 symptoms

  • describe the steps that you will implement to:

    • manage and prevent the transmission of COVID-19 among your employees and the community
    • maintain health standards
    • respond appropriately should an employee become unwell
  • be submitted to Queensland Health at [email protected].

For seasonal workers, you must have recorded the employee’s work history and accommodation details for the 14 days PRIOR to starting work. In some cases, this could cover a period of quarantine. This is to help with contact tracing efforts if a case of COVID-19 was to occur.

There are also specific obligations regarding accommodation supplied to workers, in relation to communal areas, including sharing transport. For communal areas, these obligations include:

  • 1 person per 4m2 in communal areas of 200m2 or more, or

  • 1 person per 2m2 in communal areas of less than 200m2 (up to a total of 50 people).

There are some modifications allowed for ‘household units’ consisting of no more than 4 people. Cleaning and disinfecting obligations also apply.

Serious fines can apply to individuals and corporations who fail to follow these public health directives, of $13,345 for individuals and $66,725 for corporations. The enforcement officer can issue on-the-spot fines of $1,334.50 for individuals or $6,672.50 for corporations.

Not sure how to manage your obligations for seasonal workers in Queensland? Talk to our Workplace Partners ASAP.