New Zealand has been in Covid-19 alert level 4 since Tuesday, and already there have been claims that some employers have breached the principles.

Auckland and the Coromandel are at level 4 for seven days, the remainder of the nation for 3, with any adjustments to be introduced on Friday. Only companies and organisations considered essential can open, and masks must be worn by clients and employees in any respect important outlets and providers.

Some bar and restaurant staff say they are being asked to come into work though they aren’t important staff.

Meanwhile, First Union says workers at retailers like Mitre 10 and Kmart are being put in danger by being referred to as in as Level 4 important staff to backfill confectionery cabinets or pack wine glasses.

* Wine glasses, fake grass: Retail staff fear being put at risk for ‘non-essential’ work
* Covid-19: Some hospitality workers asked to work during lockdown in apparent breach of restrictions
* What’s an essential worker, anyway?

The Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 requires companies to mitigate well being and security dangers and shield their staff from them, so far as in all fairness practicable.

Dundas Street Employment Lawyers managing associate Susan Hornsby-Geluk provides some solutions to employers and employees questioning what their rights and obligations are.

An employer can only require an employee to use their annual leave entitlements with 14 days’ notice, says Susan Hornsby-Geluk.


An employer can solely require an worker to use their annual depart entitlements with 14 days’ discover, says Susan Hornsby-Geluk.

Do I’ve to use my sick depart if I’m self-isolating?

If an worker is required to self-isolate, however they aren’t unwell, they’d not be entitled to sick depart.

However, it’s open to the employer to agree with the worker that they are going to be paid sick depart in this case. Otherwise, except the requirement to self-isolate is because of work, the depart would seemingly be unpaid.

Do I’ve to take annual depart if my employer has to shut?

No. An employer can solely require an worker to use their annual depart entitlements with 14 days’ discover.

What if I do not really feel secure to go to work, however my employer is an important service and is open?

An worker can justifiably refuse to attend work if there’s a severe and imminent danger to well being and security.

If the chance level is lower than this, however an worker refuses to attend work as a result of they don’t really feel secure, the query can be whether or not that concern was affordable.

If it was not, and there was an ongoing, unreasonable refusal to work, that might give rise to employment penalties.

However, an employer would have to bear in mind any genuinely held fears an worker had and whether or not help may very well be supplied to the worker to tackle or mitigate these.

What can I do if a buyer or consumer will not put on a masks underneath level 4?

Notify your supervisor or employer. It is open to an employer as a “person conducting a business or undertaking” to insist that folks coming into the office adjust to public well being steerage.

They might due to this fact ask that individual to depart, and in the event that they don’t, name the police.

Do I’ve to agree to variations in my settlement throughout lockdown?

No, regular employment legal guidelines apply. Any variations to phrases and circumstances of employment have to be by settlement.

Do employees nonetheless accrue holidays throughout lockdown?


I personal my very own office and don’t have any employees – can I nonetheless go to work?

Under alert level 4, folks might solely depart house to work if they are in an essential service.

Mask wearing is now a public health requirement.


Mask sporting is now a public well being requirement.

What can I do as an employer if a employee will not adjust to the principles and is a danger to others?

If an worker refuses to adjust to the principles (for instance refuses to put on a masks), then disciplinary motion may very well be taken. This might embody suspending the worker if the non-compliance continues.

Can I pressure employees to have a vaccine and put on masks?

Mask wearing is now a public health requirement, so employees in important providers will be required to put on a masks. Non-compliance might outcome in disciplinary motion being justified.

Vaccines are actually a obligatory requirement for the employees of employers which fall underneath the Government Covid-19 Order.

Otherwise an employer couldn’t typically mandate vaccination except it was a legit requirement of the function for well being and security causes.

In both of those conditions, if an worker refused to be vaccinated, this might probably lead to termination of employment if the employer was unable to accommodate various working preparations.

Can I make employees redundant throughout lockdown?

Yes, topic to there being a substantive justification, and the employer following a good and affordable course of, together with consulting with employees earlier than making any selections.

If the employer is receiving the wage subsidy, that is a further issue to be thought of in whether or not justification exists.

More employment info

Businesses can apply for the wage subsidy from Friday and can entry more cash this 12 months than final, to sustain with wage inflation.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson stated on Tuesday that as a result of Auckland was (*4*), the subsidy scheme would grow to be out there throughout the nation.

Businesses that suffered a 40 per cent lack of income due to the return to level 4 might apply and obtain $600 per full-time worker. Last 12 months, $585 was out there.

The wage subsidy will be available to all New Zealand companies and self-employed people who meet eligibility standards.

Businesses can even apply for the resurgence help cost for different enterprise prices, if their income drops 30 per cent.


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