COVID-19 and the workplace

Guidance for employees, employers, and businesses around COVID-19 and the workplace, including leave and pay entitlements, and modifying employment agreements.

General guidance for workplaces

  • Employers and employees should keep up to date with New Zealand’s response to COVID-19, and work together to protect themselves and others by following the latest health advice and not sharing unreliable information. The normal obligations to keep in regular contact and to act in good faith are more important than ever during the pandemic.
  • Regular employment law still applies to all employment relationships – regardless of the circumstances that we find ourselves in. This includes anything that has been agreed to in an employment agreement.
  • Employers are not allowed to pay less than the minimum wage or reduce any of employees’ legal minimum employment entitlements.
  • Employers and employees must discuss, in good faith, any changes in work arrangements, leave and pay, or health and safety measures.
  • In the absence of an agreement to alternative working arrangements, employees must return to work if there is no reason the employee needs to stay away from work under public health guidance from the Ministry of Health (external link)
  • If a worker is sick with COVID-19, or required to self-isolate, an employer’s first consideration should be to look after people, contain COVID-19 and protect public health. Businesses may be able to apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to support their employees.
  • Employers should not knowingly allow workers to come to a workplace when they are sick with COVID-19 or required 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.
  • Businesses should check if they are eligible for financial support on the Work and Income website (external link)

Leave and pay entitlements during COVID-19

Your rights and responsibilities regarding pay and leave during COVID-19.

Vaccines and the workplace

Guidance for employees and employers on COVID-19 vaccination requirements in the workplace.

Employment guide for workers at different COVID-19 traffic light settings

Answers to the frequently asked questions that workers may have at different traffic light settings.

Addressing health and safety concerns

Guidance for workers and businesses operating during the different COVID-19 traffic light settings.

Modifying employment agreements during COVID-19 response and recovery

Find out about options to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 in the workplace.

Terminating employment agreements during COVID-19

There are good faith processes to follow for workplace change, and redundancy should only be considered if no suitable alternative arrangements have been found.

COVID-19: Guidance for payroll professionals

This page provides a set of key messages for payroll professionals around what employment law looks like in the COVID-19 environment to help answer any questions that are presenting.

COVID-19 financial support

Current financial support schemes for businesses, employers and employees.

Wage subsidy and Leave Support: Complaints about employers

If you believe your employer is acting unlawfully in regards to the wage subsidy schemes or Leave Support Scheme, here are the steps to resolve your concerns or make a complaint.

Employment New Zealand's approach to COVID-19

Employment New Zealand is the employment regulator within MBIE. This page sets out our approach to COVID-19, and what we expect of employers and employees during this time.

Temporary changes to parental leave law due to COVID-19

These law changes allow some workers on parental leave to temporarily go back to work without losing their entitlements.

Page last revised: 17 May 2022

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