Essential Workers Providing Services During the COVID-19 Pandemic:
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, states and territories typically considered the following to be essential services, which then also identifies the essential workers in question.
- All medical and allied health centers and hospitals.
- Emergency service workers.
- Police, military, and security industry workers.
- Care providers (for the aged, the disabled, and the children of essential workers).
- Convenience stores.
- Shopping centers (eateries in food courts may only be allowed to provide takeaways).
- Markets (fresh food suppliers).
- Hairdressers and barbers (the duration of appointments may be limited).
- Schools (teachers and essential administrative/boarding school staff).
- Banks and financial institutions.
- Bottle shops.
- Fuel stations.
- Automotive service stations.
- Air and railway transport.
- Port operations.
- Freight and logistics.
- Roadside assistance.
- Post offices.
- Taxis and public transport (can be limited to essential workers only).
- Home deliveries.
- Trades (such as plumbers and electricians).
- IT and telecommunication workers (limitations may apply).
- Mining (for the purpose of critical maintenance and to avoid significant losses).
- Building and construction services (where immediately necessary for safety or welfare reasons, and to prevent significant losses).
Learn more about what an essential business is in Australia.
Essential Worker Categories:
Only workers in key fields are encouraged to work during times of crises. Based on the respective states' and territories' descriptions of essential services, essential workers in Australia can be divided into eight general categories.
1. Healthcare Workers:
Healthcare workers provide essential services that cannot be stopped or shut down for any reason. They provide vital services, such as patient care, research and testing, medication administration, and more.
Examples of Essential Healthcare Workers:
- All hospital and laboratory staff (including admins, food services, cleaners, and records keepers).
- Medical researchers.
- Funeral home and cemetery workers.
- Veterinary services.
2. Emergency Service Workers:
Emergency service workers make sure that the public has access to healthcare and other emergency services. Emergency service workers are always required to work during states of emergency.
Examples of Emergency Service Workers:
- Ambulance drivers.
- Police officers.
- Traffic officers.
- Disaster management workers.
- 000 call center employees.
3. Food Service Workers:
All individuals, households, and emergency services need access to food, so businesses such as supermarkets, grocers, shopping centers, and food delivery services are still required to operate during a state of emergency.
Examples of Essential Food Businesses/Workers:
- Convenience stores.
- Fresh food supply markets.
- Bottle shops.
- Animal agriculture workers.
- Grain, fruit, and vegetable farmers and distributors.
- Food processing workers.
- Cafeteria workers who prepare and serve food to essential workers.
- Animal/pet food suppliers.
4. Utility Workers:
Utility workers are considered essential in continuing to provide homes and businesses with electricity, water, and gas, as well as ensuring people have enough fuel to travel.
Examples of Utility Fields/Workers:
5. Transportation and Logistics Workers:
Employees supporting transportation and logistics functions are considered essential.
Examples of Transportation and Logistics Workers:
- Freight transport drivers.
- Delivery drivers.
- Utility truck drivers.
- Airport, railway, and port operation workers.
- Postal services.
- Maintenance and repair technicians.
6. Public Workers:
Some public servants and government workers are considered essential. These workers tend to operate government-run facilities, such as Centrelink, or maintain public facilities.
Examples of Public Workers:
- Government or local government services.
- Centrelink call center operators.
- Legal workers.
- Prison and probation workers.
- Workers who construct, maintain, inspect, or manage public facilities and infrastructure (such as roads, traffic signals, bridges, drainage, and parks).
- Trades workers (such as plumbers, electricians, waste disposal, and others necessary for public health and sanitation).
7. Education and Social Care Workers:
Teachers and social workers are considered essential workers, as are childcare providers, particularly when it comes to caring for the children of other essential workers while they are carrying out their duties.
8. Broadcasting, Media, and Telecommunications Workers:
Journalists, broadcasting, and news service workers are considered essential to keep the public informed. These professionals are required to compile breaking news reports and update the public on current affairs via TV, radio, and digital platforms. Equally important is telecommunications, to ensure public engagement and participation.
Who are essential workers during a state of emergency?
Are supermarket employees considered essential workers?
Yes. Supermarkets have been deemed essential businesses since they supply food items and other day-to-day necessities.
Are restaurant employees essential workers?
It depends on the level of restriction that applies at a given time. Restaurants are generally considered essential since they help with food supply, but restrictions may apply to patrons dining in. Employees necessary to run a take-out service would be considered essential.