Link to OpeningAfterCoronaVirus
Recently Asked Questions
Where possible, we encourage staff and volunteers to work from home. That may mean congregations need to invest in home printers and other resources for ministry agents to continue their work.
1. Do we need to use the same form for ministry agents, other staff, cleaners, volunteers?
Yes you will need a form for each person who is going to be on site on behalf of the congregation. This includes volunteers such as musicians, audivisual team, cleaners, foodbank volunteers, people who need to print material for services. Volunteers from the wider community who are not members of your congregation, such as Foodbank volunteers, will need a work permit through the UCA. For contractors who are self employed and are working on various sites, they are likely to need to organise their own work permit.
2. Do I need a permit form to go to the bank, the Post Office or deliver something to someone’s mailbox?
If you are walking or cycling (or running) within your 5 km neighbourhood you don’t need a work permit for that purpose. But if you are delivering outside the 5 km radius from your place of residence, you will need to that on your work permit. Where possible, we prefer that travel around Melbourne is kept to a mininum. Plan ahead and use Australia Post or other delivery services as much as possible.
3. Why are we running this through the Synod?
We are trying to avoid the risk potential costs in fines for congregations, staff and volunteers for incorrectly filling out forms. Having a legal team to advise on validity of forms provides extra protection. Not all congregations have ABNs.
4. Do I need a work permit for every funeral that I do?
We encourage ministry agents who are likely to be called upon, to list pastoral care, provision of worship services and funeral services on their form, name the congregation’s site as primary work place but also list the possibility of funeral chapel and cemetery as extra sites. It is helpful to name in the hours that ministry agents, full time or part time, are regarded as being “on call”, and will need to be at work "as required” in the case of funerals.
5. Do we need to produce our COVID19 Safe plan when we submit the form for approval?
You need to have a plan in place and be ready to show the plan if your site is inspected in a spot check. Now is a good time to review your plan, using the Government template, and ensure that ministry agents, volunteers, members of the congregation, anyone with a key to the building, are aware of your plan. You need to be aware of who is entering the building and when. You may be asked to present a log of who has been in the building at what times.
6. Does our COVID19 Safe plan need to cover the activity of rental groups providing an essential service from our site?
Groups running a business or essential service from your site should have their own COVID19 Safe plan. Your COVID19 Safe plan includes ensuring that their plan is adequate and is in line with your plan.
7. Do I need to have a printed form with me?
Either a printed form or a digital version of the form on a phone or tablet is adequate.
8. If we are running a foodbank do we need a permit for each person involved in running it?
Staff and volunteers who are going to be on site or delivering packages outside the 5 km radius from home will need a work permit. People dropping off food at the church, within their 5 km radius from home, shouldn’t need a form.
9. Can I have a volunteer come to my home to help record or broadcast a service?
No, unless that person normally lives with you.
10. Do we need a worker permit form for people looking after the property?
We encourage congregations to keep maintenance over this six week period to a minimum. However, there will be points at which monitoring the site will be required, including the clearing of donations for op shops, sorting out breakages or burst water pipes. It would be helpful to think ahead to ensure that you have a nominated person who can meet tradespersons as required.
11. Can we have a worker permit for people mowing lawns or looking after gardens?
Gardening and mowing of lawns - that’s a difficult one to determine. There is currently an exemption for the maintenance of public gardens etc. Hold off on this in the meantime while we get further advice.
12. How do we put signatures on the document?
Take a photo of your signature on your phone and email it through to whoever is completing the form. Scan your signature and email it through to whoever is completing the form If need be, write your name in italics using a cursive font.
13. Can I put more than one location of work on my form?
Yes. Put the site of the congregation where you are based, and any other work location that you are going to be working from as well. For example, if you are going to be recording or broadcasting a service from a neighbouring church, put that as the second site on your form. You don’t need to name your home address. You should only need one form, unless you are employed or placed in two congregations.
14. Can a chairperson authorise their own form?
You should get a different officeholder to co-sign your form, whether that is the secretary or treasurer.
15. What if we need to find a different time to record our service because of a change in availability of volunteers?
Put down the regular time on your sheet, and add a note that this may be adjusted in the case of availability of volunteers.
16. Do we need to get the form organised today?
If you want to have work permit for this weekend, yes get it organised this morning. We can’t guarantee processing of applications outside business hours. However the scheme will be in place over the next six weeks (at least) and the Synod and Presbytery are able to assist congregations to arrange work permits through that time.
Presbytery Minister - Team Leader
Port Phillip East Presbytery
PO Box 696
Noble Park VIC 3174