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 need to work together to keep each other safe during the global COVID-19 pandemic. This means that the normal obligations to keep in regular contact and to act in good faith are more important than ever.
  • 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, 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. If they do, they are likely to be in breach of their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
  • Businesses, employers and employees can check if they are eligible for financial support at these websites:

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.

Frequently asked questions: COVID-19 and the workplace

Answers to questions workers may have about COVID-19.

Addressing health and safety concerns

Guidance for workers and businesses operating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Modifying employment agreements because of COVID-19

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

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.

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: 14 September 2022

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