Updated public health directions affecting work from chambers and access to child care


Dear members

As foreshadowed in the President’s message to members yesterday evening, the restrictions on access to a childcare or early childhood service have changed overnight.  

Attendance at childcare or early childhood services

The Stay at Home Directions have been amended so that it is no longer necessary for both parents to be authorised workers.

Pursuant to clause 8(3) of the Stay at Home Directions (Victoria) (No 6), a person may obtain services from a childcare or early childhood service:

  1. if it is not reasonably practicable for the person to obtain a childcare or early childhood service from the premises where they ordinarily reside; and
  2. for childcare or early childhood services, if the person:
  1. has:
  1. two parents or guardians and one of them is; or
  2. a single parent or guardian and that parent or guardian is,

            an authorised worker or works for an authorised provider and holds an Authorised Worker Permit; and

       C.  is not working from the premises; or

       D.  is working from the premises and is unable to make alternative supervision arrangements for the person
             leaving the premises to attend childcare or early childhood services; or


Note 1: an authorised worker (or person who works for an Authorised Provider) working from home can access childcare if they have an Authorised Worker Permit  

Note 2: a person will not be subject to a penalty pursuant to section 203 of the PHW Act for failing to hold an Authorised Worker Permit until after 11:59:00pm on 23 August 2021.

Note 3: An Authorised Worker that is required to work shift work (e.g. overnight shift at a hospital) is permitted to send their child(ren) to childcare or an early childhood service outside their working hours so they can rest.

  1. is a vulnerable child or young person.


Childcare or early childhood service is defined at clause 13(13) as onsite early childhood education and care services or children’s services provided under certain legislation.

Vulnerable child or young person is also defined at cl 13(59).


In-home child-minding assistance

Access to in-home child-minding assistance remains unchanged.  Clause 7(1)(l) of the Stay at Home Directions provides for a person to leave their ordinary residence to provide child-minding assistance (whether on a paid or voluntary basis).  Clause 11(3)(b)(ii) provides an exception to the restriction on private gatherings for this purpose.

Clause 7(1)(b)(ii) of the Stay at Home Directions provides for a person to leave their ordinary residence to take the child to another person’s premises for the purpose of that other person providing child-minding assistance (whether on a paid or voluntary basis) so that the parent or guardian can do one of the things specified in clauses 6 (necessary goods or services), 7 (care or other compassionate reasons), 8 (work or education), 9 (exercise) or 10 (other specified reasons).  Note however that, as explained above, clause 8 restricts attending work to authorised workers for whom it is not reasonably practicable to work from their ordinary residence.


Authorised workers

The list of authorised workers and authorised providers can be found at https://www.coronavirus.vic.gov.au/authorised-provider-and-authorised-worker-list-0

The list of authorised workers currently includes a number of categories which may be applicable to barristers, depending on the work they are doing.

The list includes any person who performs work that is essential for the continued operation of:

  • An Authorised Provider (which includes court, tribunal and commission services)
  • Services related to the administration of justice, including the operation of courts in regional Victoria
  • Judges, Associate-Judges, Judicial Registrars, Magistrates, Coroners, Tribunal Members and their offices for urgent or priority court or tribunal matters determined by the relevant head of jurisdiction, including for bail, family violence, remand, child protection, warrants and urgent guardianships, human rights or residential tenancies issues or any other priority matters, or for any remote hearings
  • To the extent necessary to support the functioning of the court, tribunal and dispute services mentioned above:
    • Director of Public Prosecutions and the Office of Public Prosecutions
    • Defence lawyers, Victoria Legal Aid, the Child Protection litigation office, Aboriginal legal services and other legal assistance providers
    • Courts Services Victoria, court support services and court registry services including security, cleaning and interpreter services
    • Other lawyers
    • Bail justices
    • Office of the Public Advocate guardians for high priority, highly vulnerable citizens and relevant staff
    • Justices of the Peace only as urgently required noting the voluntary nature of their role
  • Administration of justice matters by legal practitioners for their clients where the matter cannot be undertaken reasonably and/or the client cannot participate reasonably in an online communication, teleconference or by means of an audio-visual link facility

(emphasis added).

Members will need to consider whether the work they are doing satisfies one of the categories on the authorised worker list.