Source: Employment New Zealand
Workplace guidance for employers and employees on COVID-19.
Minimising the spread of coronavirus is important to keep employees safe and well at work. This should be done before thinking about the interests of the business or organisation. The Ministry of Health has information available on workplace infectious disease prevention. In the case of an emergency, employers and employees should remember to keep in regular contact and deal with each other in good faith.
Guidance for the workplace
We all need to do what we can to contain COVID-19 and protect public health in New Zealand, by supporting workers to protect and, where necessary, isolate themselves from others.
- Employers must take seriously and manage the health risks to workers and other people affected in the workplace and treat employees in good faith. Employers should plan ahead and work with workers and unions for likely scenarios of COVID-19.
- If a worker is sick with COVID-19, or has been advised to self-isolate under Ministry of Health guidelines for COVID-19, the first consideration for an employer should be to look after people, contain COVID-19 and protect public health.
- Employers should not require or knowingly allow workers to come to a workplace when they are sick with COVID-19 or if they have been advised to self-isolate under public health guidelines for COVID-19. If they do, they are likely to be in breach of their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
- Employers and workers should consider whether working from home is practicable during the self-isolation period. In that case, the worker would be paid normally.
- If an employer requires an employee not to come to a workplace, an employee should be paid. Paid sick leave (and anticipated sick leave) may be used if the person is sick or needs to care for a sick dependent. If paid sick leave is not available, paid special leave should be considered. Other forms of paid leave can be used by agreement between the employer and the employee.
- If an employee, who has been advised to self-isolate under Ministry of Health guidelines for COVID-19, can’t practicably work from home, then special paid leave should be considered. Other forms of paid leave can be considered (such as paid sick leave) and used by agreement between the employer and the employee.
- Contractor pay and leave is not covered by this guidance. Employers and contractors can agree to any payment arrangements they wish to.
Employment situations that may take place
For any further questions about employment rights and responsibilities, contact Employment New Zealand.