Tamworth Regional Council is one of the first in the state to pilot rapid COVID-19 tests that take as little as 15 minutes.
The trial program will help keep essential workers safe and services operational, United Services Union organiser Mark Hughes said.
"They're essential service workers and a lot of people don't realise some of the essential workers that we do have with councils, such as those that are in charge of the water and the sewer," he said.
Tests will only be conducted on workers who don't have symptoms.
Those that do have flu-like symptoms will get a full PCR COVID-19 test at an authorised testing facility and isolate until they get a negative result.
Council chief people officer Marie Resch said the program will help screen employees and "quickly identify and isolate those who have COVID-19".
"By screening employees we can quickly identify and isolate those who have COVID-19 and as a result minimise any disruption to service delivery and potential transmission in the community," she said.
Mr Hughes said the intention was that contractors for council travelling into Tamworth from out of the area would also get tested.
He said the program would help reduce the number of people forced into days of isolation while waiting for a coronavirus test result.
"It's to limit the downtime, to limit the disruption to essential services," he said.
"In some ways yes, it is heading back towards some sense of normality."
Rapid antigen tests for COVID-19, which can be conducted at home but are typically less accurate than pathologist testing, are a major part of the pandemic response in Europe and Asia but have yet to be widely used in Australia.
Tamworth council has engaged a local specialist provider to carry out the testing using kits approved by the therapeutic goods administration.