If workers are not able to come into their usual place of work, employers are encouraged to ask individual workers to work from home while the risk is addressed, and pay them normally.
Alternatively, employers should also ask workers to work from an alternative location, or carry out reasonable alternative duties.
If working from home or an alternative location is not possible, employers and employees should first look to their employment agreements and can also agree in good faith what paid or unpaid leave can be used.
Employers cannot make employees take annual leave where they are not able to come to work because of the changes to alert levels this week. Employers can only make an employee take annual leave if they can’t reach agreement with their employee about when annual leave will be taken, and they give the employee at least 14 days' notice.
Employers cannot make employees take sick leave where they are not able to come to work because of the changes to alert levels. Sick leave can only be requested by employees when they are sick, or to care for dependents who are sick.
The COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment is available to financially support businesses to pay people in situations where they cannot work from home and need to stay at home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) offers an early resolution service to help employers and employees resolve problems in employment relationships. Access this service by filling out the web form on the Early Resolution page.