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Frequently asked Questions – COVID-19 – March 2021

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We have archived last years FaQ’s here for your reference, however please note some of the information relates specifically to 2020 situations.

Can I travel in and out of Auckland at Alert Level 3 for business purposes?

Here is some information on travel exemptions in and out of an alert level 3 area. Travel is limited, and those that do not fall within the prescribed criteria must apply for a critical activity exemption where it states that many of these applications will not be approved. The link to further information is here: Business travel in and out of an Alert Level 3 area | Unite against COVID-19.

Can I reduce my employee’s hours?

Any variation of an employee’s terms needs to be agreed by both employer and employee. Changing any terms will require the written agreement of both parties. There may be some flexibility ‘built in’ to the agreement, but this requires careful consideration, and any changes will likely require agreement. Changing someone’s employment agreement is very unlikely to meet the requirements of employment law, even in a pandemic situation. However, you may propose a temporary variation for consultation with your employees. Please see our Resource here on Proposing a Temporary Variation. [this is a member-only resource, you will need to be logged in to view]

What if an employee has been contacted by the Ministry of Health?

Your employees should follow all MOH Guidelines and also let you know as soon as possible. The Covid-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, to help pay their workers who cannot work from home while they wait for a Covid-19 test result. There’s a one-off payment of $350 for each eligible worker. If the employee is off sick with Covid-19, caring for someone with Covid-19, or have been required to isolate because of Covid-19, the Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme is available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who need to self-isolate and can’t work from home. The scheme is paid as a lump sum and covers 2 weeks per eligible employee, up to $1176.60 for people who were working 20 hours or more per week.

You should also communicate with your employees that it is a requirement for them to let you know if they have been contacted by the Ministry of Health. Here is our updated Employee Wellbeing Policy which covers this.[this is a member-only resource, you will need to be logged in to view]

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