Most COVID-19 rules have now ended
New Zealand’s COVID-19 Protection Framework (traffic lights) ended at 11.59pm on Monday 12 September.
With case numbers falling, a highly vaccinated population, and increased access to antiviral medicines to treat COVID-19, public health experts say it is safe to remove most COVID-19 rules and end border restrictions.
Please note that the following still apply:
- You must still isolate for 7 days if you have COVID-19.
- You must wear a face mask in healthcare facilities, such as hospitals.
There are still some rules for businesses and workers. Follow this link for more information.
If you are looking for more information on looking after your Mental Wellbeing there are some helpful links here and here
Don’t Panic – We’ve Got this NZ!
New Zealand moves to Orange at Midnight 13th April, in time for Easter. Click through to the COVID-19 website here to see what that means for you. Particularly Mask Wearing in public and Masks at work.
Updates dated April 5th, regarding Vaccines in the workplace,
- Exemptions and Exceptions
- Who must be vaccinated
- Booster doses
The Government has announced major changes to the COVID-19 Protection Framework, including changes to My Vaccine Pass requirements for work and other vaccine mandates.
- What should an employer do if they have an employer vaccination requirement already in place
- Can someone who lost their job due to a previous vaccination requirement get their job back
- COVID-19 controls for work health and safety reasons, including employer vaccination requirement
- Employment actions if an employee is unvaccinated and there is a requirement that they are
to provide paid time off to get vaccinate
Support to help resolve employment disputes
Click through to this page for new guidance for vaccines and the workplace
There is also new information regarding the Requirement of My Vaccine Passes for entry
From 11:59pm on 4 April 2022, there will be no requirement to use My Vaccine Pass. Until 4 April, where My Vaccine Passes are not used, the current restrictions remain — but after this time, the new capacity limits will apply to everyone.
After 4 April, businesses will still be able to use the system if they would like to.
For more information please click through to the official website here
The information for Close and Household contacts have changed as of March 17th. Click here to see the updates and further information.
If you need to purchase a Rapid Antigen Test, here is a list of a few places that have tests available to purchase.
Government Support Options
Here are some Spicey approved links for online support to get you, your team, and your business through this current lockdown …
Small business Cashflow Scheme applications are open as at March 14th. See here for more information.
business.govt.nz has new information for business. Click on the below links for more information.
- Managing workers who are COVID-19 cases, contacts or have symptoms
- ‘Bubble of one’
- Close Contact Exemption Scheme
- Talking to your employees about the Close Contact Exemption Scheme and the Bubble of One initiative
- Mask wearing
Each COVID Support Payment will be $4000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000, the same rate as the most recent Transition Payment.
Applications for the first payment open on 28 February with payments starting from 1 March. They are available fortnightly for 6 weeks, making 3 payments in total.
If an employee needs extra support: The Ministry of Social Development can co-ordinate extra support for people who are self-isolating because they have COVID-19 or are identified as a Close Contact, or a referral to a provider if required.
Those who need extra support can request help with:
- getting access to food and essential items
- mobile data so you can keep in contact with essential services, friends and whānau
- getting support for personal care or daily tasks
- talking to your employer if you are worried about your leave or pay
- getting mental health support, or support with family or sexual violence.
This support could be from a community organisation, a government agency, a marae-based service or support established by iwi.
It includes community connectors who work with MSD-funded providers in communities where there is need. More information:
People can apply for support online here:
They can also call the COVID-19 Welfare phone line on 0800 512 337 seven days a week.
Business.govt.nz has some vital updates regarding:
- Managing workers who are COVID-19 cases, contacts or have symptoms – At each phase of the Omicron response, there are different isolation and quarantine requirements for cases and contacts
- ‘Bubble of one’ – any business or sole trader may have a worker who is a close contact on-site if this worker is not customer facing, and can maintain a ‘bubble of one’ while at work (including travel to and from work). Read about the requirements here.
- Close Contact Exemption Scheme – Critical serices workers can access the Close Contact Exemption Scheme to ensure critical services continue to function. There is a link on this page to help you register as a critical service.
- Mask wearing – further guidance on mask wearing for general health workers and higher risk health workers or border staff.
There is also information here that will help you assist your employees who are waiting for a COVID-19 test result, self isolating, on a temporary visa or need assistance with essential costs.
Also, check out the links below for Financial Support Options for Businesses.
The Government have updated the Tools and Advice or their website. Now including:
- Managing the impact of COVID-19 cases at your business -Have a plan for COVID-19, particularly the Omicron variant, affecting your workers, suppliers or customers.
- Short-Term Absence Payment – available to employers to pay workers who follow public health guidance and stay home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers.
- Leave Support Scheme -available to employers to help pay employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work from home. It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers.
- Small business cash flow loan scheme – Under the Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme the Government provides loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs
- Having an NZBN could make applying for financial support easier
- Financial support tool
The Government have recently announced an economic support package to support businesses affected by higher alert levels during the new COVID-19 Protection Framework. The great news is you can access our HR support and guidance for this as we’re Registered RBPN Service Providers. Contact us for more info or register your interest for this financial support via the link on the RBPN COVID-19 support page.
The Legal Lowdown
As we are returning to the office, ensuring your team are aware of any COVID-19 policies is essential.
The Spice Team discuss key insights with ELMO Software’s Kenny Addison, including:
- Consulting, communicating and engaging with employees when developing your vaccination policy
- Managing employee vaccination information
- The Privacy Act and its implications for your vaccination policy and processes
- Key considerations when building flexible working policies
Here’s a great opinion piece written by Susan Hornsby-Geluk, managing partner at employment law firm Dundas Street, outlining how employers could handle requests for vaccination exemptions in the workplace. Check it out and give us a shout if you need any more guidance.
James Trevelyan from Trevelyan’s Kiwifruit Packhouse in Te Puke was on TVNZ Breakfast discussing their business’ approach to encourage their 700+ team to get vaccinated. It’s a great example of an employer being pro-active in the vaccination space whilst also being respectful to others views. It could be a case study to model if you are thinking of encouraging vaccinations in your workplace.
Worksafe – assessing whether a specific role needs to be performed by a vaccinated worker
Mental Wellbeing Resources
And most importantly… make sure you are looking after you and your family’s mental wellbeing.
There are some great online resources available …
COVID-19 Wellbeing Information
Mental Health Foundation of NZ – 5 Ways to Wellbeing Resources
Xero – Xero has a lot of useful free support resources for businesses on their website. We really love their Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) which offers Kiwi small business owners, their employees and family members access to free and confidential counselling and support until the end of the year. This is regardless of weather you are a Xero customer, or not. This type of support in your workplace wellbeing toolkit is invaluable in times like these. Make use of it if you need to.
Groov – download the free Groov app and check out their COVID Support Collection for practical tips for dealing with uncertainty and stress, and many ways to take care of your wellbeing.
Just a Thought – Staying on Track is a free online course designed to help you tackle worry and stress, so you can take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Lauren Parsons Wellbeing Specialist – check out all the useful resources Lauren has on her FB and LinkedIn pages. If you’re a business leader you may also want to check out and join her Thriving Leaders Community which is a no-cost group where the vision is simply to keep leaders connected, inspired and equipped to thrive personally and to lead flourishing teams.
Online Training and Development
Are you looking for ways for you and your team to use your Lockdown time effectively? Why not check out these online T&D options below …
NZ Digital Boost Program – Need to sharpen up your digital skills? The NZ Digital Boost Program is a great way to learn and develop new skills.
Site Safe – Are you a Tradie and can’t work from home at the moment? Check out Site Safe’s Online T&D options to keep that learning going.
TED Talks– Looking for inspiration or motivation for business ideas? TED Talks are a great way to spark this inspiration and ideas you need to take your business to the next level!
Keep looking after each other and we’ll get through this together (again!).
And if in doubt, don’t hesitate to Contact Us today!