- People who get tested should stay home until they get their results.
- People who do not have symptoms must also isolate after testing unless specifically told otherwise by the Department of Health.
- If a worker finds out if they have tested positive for COVID-19 and attended the workplace while potentially infectious, they must notify their employer.
- If an on-site worker tests positive for COVID-19, employers must follow the steps below to protect workers, contractors, visitors, customers and the wider community from potential transmission.
- Employers must notify the department of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace. Penalties apply for failing to do so.
- Download the for step-by-step instructions and the documents you must complete should there be a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace.
What employers need to do if there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the workplace
As an employer, when you become aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your workplace, you must respond quickly to limit further exposure and contain potential outbreaks.
If there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your workplace, you must:
- Direct the worker to return home and isolate immediately, whether or not they have symptoms. Once home, the worker must wait for further instructions from the Victorian Department of Health.
- Notify the department by completing the and . If the Department of Health has not contacted you within 24 hours of notification please call .
- Notify your workers, suppliers and customers that there is a confirmed positive case.
- Notify and other relevant industry bodies.
Within 48 hours
- Complete the .
- Identify workplace close contacts by completing the .Your immediate action assists the Department of Health with contact tracing. The department will review the spreadsheet to confirm and identify any additional close contacts.
- Submit the and by emailing:
- Notify identified close contacts – ask them to quarantine and watch for symptoms. The Department of Health will also contact close contacts to explain what they need to do, offer assistance, and support them throughout their quarantine period.
- Consider closing or vacating the workplace if required. The Department of Health will work with you on the measures you need to take and advise when it is safe for your business to reopen.
- Deep clean the workplace or areas identified in the Workplace risk assessment. See .
Confirmed case in workplace information pack
The confirmed case workplace information pack contains more information about your obligations as an employer and how to complete the required steps.
Please read these documents first:
- – provides detailed guidance on what you must do if there are confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in your workplace.
- – a step by step guide for employers to fulfill their obligations.
Then complete these documents:
- – used to notify the Department of Health of a confirmed case.
- – used to determine appropriate actions for your workplace.
- – used to identify close contacts.
Your questions answered
How should I notify the Department of Health of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in my workplace?
You only need to notify the Department of Health when there is a confirmed case of COVID-19. Complete the and . If the Department of Health has not contacted you within 24 hours of notification, please call .
What will happen after I notify the Department of Health of a confirmed case in my workplace?
The Department of Health (the department) will review the information you have provided and contact you promptly to confirm details and ensure all required public health actions are being taken.
The department will work with you, as the employer, to determine any additional measures to take and to determine when it is safe to reopen (if you are required to close the worksite). Typically, workplaces can reopen after all confirmed cases and close contacts have gone into isolation and quarantine, deep cleaning has been completed, and any additional measures have been implemented.
The department will also contact all close contacts, who must quarantine for 14 days. Close contacts must not attend work while they are in quarantine.
It is important that you communicate with workers, contractors, visitors, customers and other stakeholders after a confirmed case of COVID-19 at your workplace. You should advise workers to get tested immediately if they start to feel unwell. More information is available in the .
What will the Department of Health do if one of my workers tests positive for COVID-19?
The Department of Health will:
- tell you if the worker attended work during their infectious period
- provide guidance on the next steps you must follow, including using the and to identify:
- workplace close contacts of the worker who tested positive
- sites or areas of a site attended by the worker who tested positive
- tell you if you need to partially or completely close the worksite, and when you can reopen.
What should I do if a worker develops symptoms of COVID-19 but has not been tested yet?
You must direct the worker to travel home immediately and get tested as soon as possible. If they can’t travel immediately, they should be isolated in a separate room until they can travel home. They must wear a fitted face mask. Tell them to get tested for COVID-19 as soon as possible and to stay at home until they receive their test results. For more information about testing, including where to get tested, visit .
The workspace and/or areas in the work premises frequently used by the worker, as well as other high-touch surfaces in areas where they work (such as door handles and kitchen facilities) should be cleaned. For more information, see .
You do not need to vacate the workplace for cleaning and disinfection if one or two workers with symptoms that might be COVID-19 have been identified. If three or more workers have been identified with symptoms within a five-day period, undertake a to determine what you need to do.
How do I help the Department of Health identify and notify close contacts?
To identify the close contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19, consider who they may have had close contact with during their infectious period. This could include other workers, contractors, visitors or anyone else at the workplace. To do you this, you could check rosters, time sheets, sign-in sheets and visitor logs.
This information will help the Department of Health with contact tracing.
You only need to identify and notify workplace contacts. The department will identify all other close contacts (for example, the person’s family and personal close contacts).
Close contact means:
- having face-to-face contact, or being within 1.5 metres of a person with COVID-19, or
- sharing a closed space for more than one hour during a person's infectious period.
The infectious period is 48 hours before the person’s symptoms start (or if they did not have symptoms, 48 hours before they were tested).
The department may require other people who don’t necessarily meet the above definitions to quarantine following a risk assessment of each situation.
Record the details of close contacts in the and provide this to the Department of Health for review. This information will help the department to act quickly and limit the spread of the virus in the workplace.
To notify close contacts, you should call them and explain the need to quarantine for 14 days since their last contact with the person with COVID-19 during their infectious period. The Department of Health will also contact the identified close contacts to explain what they need to do, see if they need any help, and stay in touch throughout their quarantine period.
You should not disclose the identity of the person with confirmed COVID-19 to other workers unless the person has given you permission to do so.
What happens if a worker finds out they have tested positive for COVID-19 while at work?
People who have been tested should stay home until they get their results. People who do not have symptoms must also isolate after testing unless specifically told otherwise by the Department of Health.
However, if a worker finds out they have tested positive for COVID-19 while at work, they must immediately go directly home and isolate If the worker is unable to leave work immediately, support them to isolate at work, preferably in a separate room. They must wear a fitted face mask and remain at least 1.5 metres from others at all times.
The worker should drive themselves home by private transport where possible. If an existing close contact drives the confirmed case, they should both wear a fitted face mask, the case should sit in the back seat, and wash or sanitise their hands before and after being in the vehicle. They should not be driven by anyone who is not already a close contact, and not travel by taxi, rideshare or public transport. If the confirmed case is unable to get home without exposing others, they should call for non-emergency patient transport to be organised. They should not travel by public transport.
When can a worker who has tested positive for COVID-19 return to work?
Anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 must stay at home until they receive formal clearance to leave isolation after a case clearance interview with the Department of Health. The department will call them to explain what this means, when they can return to work and answer any questions they may have.
A case is cleared by the Department of Health when they are no longer considered infectious. However, they might need more time away from work after they are cleared, as even though they are no longer infectious, they may not feel well enough to return to work. As their employer, you should support them to do so.
When can a worker who is identified as a close contact return to work?
Workers who are close contacts can return to work when they have:
- completed their minimum 14-day quarantine period
- no symptoms of COVID-19
- been tested on day 13 or after of their quarantine period
- returned a negative test result
- been cleared by the Department of Health.
What is a ‘risk assessment’? And as a business owner, when am I required to complete one?
You are required to complete a risk assessment when:
- a person with COVID-19 attended work during their infectious period. The infectious period is defined as 48 hours before the person started to develop symptoms (or if they did not have symptoms, 48 hours before their positive test)
- there are three or more suspected cases of COVID-19 at one work premises within a five-day period.
What financial support is available to workers who have tested positive for COVID-19?
What financial support is available to my business?
A range of assistance is available from the Commonwealth and Victorian governments and other entities to support businesses impacted by COVID-19.
What other resources are available to support my business?
The following resources will help you meet your obligations as a business owner under current restrictions.
Posters and letter templates for businesses closed for deep cleaning
How do I reduce the risk of COVID-19 in my workplace?
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections in the workplace, employers should:
- have a or
- of each person who attends the premises for more than 15 minutes, including workers, to support contact tracing
- provide and promote hand sanitiser use and regular hand washing, including at building entrances
- increase environmental cleaning, including between changes of workers
- clean high-touch surfaces with disinfectant at least twice a day: including desks, doors and door handles, keyboards and lifts (including lift buttons and handrails)
- provide adequate supplies in change rooms so workers do not share items such as towels and soap bars, and encourage workers to wash their hands after changing, and regularly during work
- open windows and adjust air conditioning to increase airflow; ensure the highest hygiene practices are in place among food handlers and canteen workers
- make sure everyone at the workplace wears a face mask
- avoid enclosed spaces, if possible
- create workforce bubbles, to limit the number of crossover and contact between workers, shift periods and workplace areas
- purchase supplies to help prevent infection – for example, alcohol sanitisers and soap.
Reviewed 15 April 2021