ALERT LEVEL 1: Be prepared, be vigilant

Public health measures in place but no physical distancing is needed.

Self-Isolation

At all alert levels self-isolation is required for people who display symptoms relevant to COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Mandatory quarantine/managed isolation is required for those who have been overseas in the last 14 days.

Where an employee is required to self-isolate (or must care for a dependant who is required to self- isolate) they should work from home to the extent possible.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work from home, or to cover periods of unavailability for work, employees should receive paid special leave, paid at normal rates.

If an employee becomes ill with COVID-19 while in self-isolation, sick leave should be used. If the employee has insufficient sick leave the employee may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so that they continue to be paid.

If an employee wishes to self-isolate when public health advice does not require this, employers should:

  • take a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate the concerns of their employee in good faith
  • consider the risk to the employee and those in their household unit and risk to other people in the workplace
  • determine an appropriate response in line with employer and employee duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and public health advice from the Ministry of Health.

If the parties agree that the employee should self-isolate based on public health guidelines and health and safety advice, the provisions above apply.

If the employer does not agree the employee should self-isolate, employers should treat the situation as a work from home request, generously applying the employer’s policy, and agree the employee works remotely wherever practicable.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work remotely, the employer should try to address the employee’s concerns as far as possible and ask the employee to attend work or agree a leave arrangement such as annual leave or unpaid special leave.

Maximising delivery of services

It may be necessary during all alert levels for some employees to cover work that is usually performed by other employees that is not within the scope of their role to maintain delivery of services. It is likely that in some cases, express agreement may be needed.

As part of the planning process employers should adopt and promote an approach to employees voluntarily agreeing to temporarily change work functions, location and/or hours of work. This should include engagement with relevant unions. Where employment agreements allow flexibility in the type, location and hours of work, employers should work with their employees and unions to maximise any opportunities.

Health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace

Workers can work in the workplace, though public health standards and health and safety obligations must be met. Physical distancing is not required but people are encouraged to keep a safe distance from those you don’t know while out and about.

Face coverings are required on public transport in Auckland and on all domestic flights.  

Outside Auckland face coverings are recommended  on public transport and where physical distancing is difficult.

Agencies are not required to maintain records to enable contact tracing, but must display the NZ COVID Tracer QR code poster to help visitors keep track of where they’ve been.

Agencies should follow general public health advice (maintain good hygiene practices - regularly disinfect surfaces, wash and dry hands, cough and sneeze into elbow, don’t touch your face; if you have cold or flu symptoms stay at home and ring Healthline or your GP; keep track of where you’re going).

The workplace is in a business as usual state, so continue to:

  • Communicate clearly and often with staff.
  • Engage worker health and safety representatives and union delegates in planning and communications.
  • Ensure wellbeing support, including EAP, is accessible.

Paid special leave for employees unable to work from home or in the workplace

Usual leave arrangements and practices apply as per agency policies and employment agreements.

Access to and payment of special leave for casual employees

Casual employees should be managed as per agency policies and employment agreements.

Sick/Dependant Leave

Agencies’ approach to sick/dependant leave should be in line with agency policy and employment agreements.

Leave provisions should be applied in a way that does not lead to an employee attending work when they are sick or returning to work too early and placing others at risk.

Agencies should also support caregivers to be able to comply with public health advice to keep unwell children home from school or early childhood education.

Annual Leave

Leave balances should be managed in line with agency policies, employment agreements and operational priorities.

Work with employees and unions to implement agreed leave plans if needed.

Employees may request annual leave as per normal processes. Employees should advise their employer if pre-approved annual leave or new annual leave requests involve travel overseas and employers should ask employees if they intend to travel overseas during their leave.

Employers and employees should regularly refer to updates on travel advice provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Immigration New Zealand.

If, for any reason, an employee requesting annual leave intends to travel overseas contrary to public health advice, the employer and employee should discuss and agree how any required period of self-isolation or quarantine on return from leave should apply. In the first instance for any period of self-isolation, where practicable, the employee should work from home. If working from home is not practicable other forms of leave should be considered such as annual leave or special leave without pay.

If agreement cannot be reached between the employer and the employee, then the period of self-isolation will be unpaid leave.

Use of TOIL, alternative holidays and shift leave

TOIL, alternative holidays and shift leave accrual and use should be managed as per agency policies and employment agreements.

Public holiday payment

At all alert levels public holidays should be paid according to the Holidays Act or the employment agreement.

School closure impacting on ability to work

Schools and early learning centres are open.

Any educational facilities connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 must close temporarily, if advised by the public health unit, to support contact tracing and case and contact management.

If a dependant’s school or early learning centre is closed temporarily due to COVID-19 and the employee cannot arrange alternative supervision, the employee should work from home to the extent possible. Where the employee cannot work from home, or is only partially available for work, special paid leave should be given for time not working.

ALERT LEVEL 2: Workplaces remain open

Maximising delivery of services

It is important that services are delivered as close to normal as possible. Workplaces should remain open. Working arrangements should be maintained at usual levels from the usual place of work.

To maintain delivery of services it may be necessary during all alert levels for some employees to cover work usually performed by other employees that is not within the scope of their role. Express agreement may be needed to do this.

As part of the planning process employers should adopt and promote an approach to employees voluntarily agreeing to temporarily change work functions, location and/or hours of work. This should include engagement with relevant unions. Where employment agreements allow flexibility in the type, location and hours of work, employers should work with their employees and unions to maximise any opportunities.

Agencies with lower priority functions should consider exploring where their employees may be able to assist priority service delivery by other agencies. These employees could agree to cover priority service delivery or be on call for others who may become unable to work. See the COVID-19 Workforce Mobility Guidance for State Services Agencies for further information.

Health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace

Employees should work in the workplace or usual place of work where it is safe to do so.

There is a general requirement for physical distancing of one metre at work.

Agencies should conduct their own risk assessments and engage with unions and workers to determine the most appropriate measures across different work sites and operations.

Refer to WorkSafe NZ Alert Level 2 workplace health and safety guidance, and to the Government Health and Safety Lead website for agency health and safety considerations under Alert Level 2. Always refer to covid19.govt.nz for more information on Alert Level 2.

Vulnerable employees may work in the workplace if they agree with their employer that they can do so safely. Working from home should be available where possible.

If a vulnerable employee does not agree arrangements with their employer to work safely in the workplace, employers should:

  • take a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate the concerns of their employee in good faith
  • consider the risk to the employee, those in their household, and other people in the workplace
  • determine an appropriate response in line with employer and employee duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and public health advice from the Ministry of Health.

If the parties cannot agree, the employer should treat the situation as a work from home request, generously applying the employer’s policy, and agree the employee works remotely wherever practicable.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work remotely, the employer should try to address the employee’s concerns as far as possible and ask the employee to attend work or agree a leave arrangement such as annual leave or unpaid special leave.

Agencies must be able to manage health and safety risks of staff onsite by:

  • Enabling contact tracing of everyone in the workplace including encouraging the use of the NZ COVID-19 tracer app
  • Enabling physical distancing requirements to be met
  • Maintaining enhanced cleaning of workplaces and equipment
  • Promotion of hand hygiene
  • Strongly encourage face coverings in situations where physical distancing is difficult, noting that face coverings are mandatory on public transport
  • Provision of personal hygiene and cleaning equipment i.e. hand sanitiser
  • Provision of required personal protective equipment (PPE) if required by Ministry of Health guidance for Alert Level 2
  • Review unassigned workstation arrangements to ensure health and safety obligations are effectively managed.

Agencies should promote general public health advice: wear a face covering where physical distancing is difficult; regularly disinfect surfaces; wash and dry hands, cough into elbow; if you’re sick, stay home, don’t go to work or school, don’t socialise; if you have cold or flu symptoms  call your doctor or Healthline and get tested.

Alternative ways of working are encouraged where practicable. There will be high demand on infrastructure like public transport. Be aware of any reductions in services – having different groups of workers starting and finishing at set times would be helpful.

Staff may have differing attitudes about being in the workplace and there may be some anxiety about how safe the workplace can be, so:

  • Communicate clearly and often with staff
  • Engage worker health and safety representatives and union delegates in planning and communications
  • Ensure EAP is accessible.

Self-isolation

At all alert levels self-isolation is required for people who display COVID-19 related symptoms, test positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Mandatory quarantine/managed isolation is required for those who have been overseas in the last 14 days.

Where an employee is required to self-isolate (or must care for a dependant who is required to self- isolate) they must not come into work and should work from home to the extent possible.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work from home, or to cover periods of unavailability for work, employees should receive paid special leave, paid at normal rates.

If an employee becomes ill with COVID-19 while in self-isolation, sick leave should be used. If the employee has insufficient sick leave the employee may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so that they continue to be paid

If an employee wishes to self-isolate when public health advice does not require this, employers should:

  • take a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate the concerns of their employee in good faith
  • consider the risks to the employee, those in their household or ‘bubble’ and to other people in the workplace
  • determine an appropriate response in line with employer and employee duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and public health advice from the Ministry of Health.

If the parties agree that the employee should self-isolate based on public health guidelines and health and safety advice, the provisions above apply.

If the employer does not agree the employee should self-isolate, employers should treat the situation as a work from home request, generously applying the employer’s policy, and agree the employee works remotely wherever practicable.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work remotely, the employer should try to address the employee’s concerns as far as possible and ask the employee to attend work or agree a leave arrangement such as annual leave or unpaid special leave.

Paid special leave for employees unable to work from home or in the workplace

Those employees unable to work from home should be prioritised for continuing to work in the workplace.

For employees who cannot be accommodated safely in the workplace and cannot work from home, paid special leave should be given, paid at normal rates.

Employees required to self-isolate (or must care for a dependant who is required to self- isolate) and are unable to work from home should receive paid special leave, paid at normal rates for time not working.

Access to and payment of special leave for casual employees

Casual employees should be managed as per agency policies and employment agreements.

Sick/dependant leave

Employees may be unable to work due to COVID-19 related sickness or a requirement to care for dependants who are similarly unwell. In these circumstances:

  • Sick or dependant leave should be used, and payment should be in line with usual agency practice.
  • If the employee has insufficient sick leave, they may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so they can continue to be paid.

Employees may be unable to work, or only partially available to work if they need to care for a dependant whose usual care is unavailable or who is not sick but may require some care due to COVID-19 related reasons:

  • Employees should work to the extent possible, including from home.
  • Where it is not possible for an employee to work from home, and to cover periods of unavailability for work, dependant leave (or equivalent) if applicable should be used. Dependant leave (or equivalent) or paid special leave is paid as per normal agency practice.

If the employee has insufficient dependant leave, or dependant leave is only available in relation to sickness, they may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so they can continue to be paid.

Annual leave

Employers should not direct employees to utilise annual leave if there are limited opportunities for rest and recreation activities.

Employees may request annual leave as per normal processes. Employees should advise their employer if a pre-approved annual leave request or new request involves travel overseas. Employers should ask employees requesting leave if they intend to travel overseas during their leave.

Travel

Where there are restrictions on travel between regions, agencies should ensure any business travel complies with these restrictions.

For domestic travel restrictions employers and employees should refer to personal movement advice for Alert Level 2 at covid19.govt.nz

Updates on international travel advice is provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Immigration New Zealand.

If, for any reason, an employee requesting annual leave intends to travel or to a restricted region within New Zealand contrary to public health advice, the employer and employee should discuss and agree how any required period of self-isolation or quarantine on return from leave should apply. In the first instance for any period of self-isolation, where practicable, the employee should work from home. If working from home is not practicable other forms of leave should be considered such as annual leave or special leave without pay.

If agreement cannot be reached between the employer and the employee, then the period of self-isolation will be unpaid leave.

Use of TOIL, alternative holidays and shift leave

TOIL, alternative holidays and shift leave accrual and use should be managed as per agency policies and employment agreements.

For example, as part of a planned return to the workplace consideration should be given to asking employees to use accumulated TOIL or alternative holidays to cover periods before the workplace becomes fully accessible.

Public holiday payment

At all alert levels public holidays should be paid according to the Holidays Act or the employment agreement.

School closure impacting on ability to work

Schools and early learning centres are open.

Any educational facilities connected to a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 must close on an individual or group basis for 72 hours to allow contact tracing, and then potentially for a further 14 days.

If a dependant’s school or early learning centre is closed temporarily due to COVID-19 and the employee cannot arrange alternative supervision, the employee should work from home as much as possible. Where the employee cannot work from home, or is only partially available for work, special paid leave should be given for time not working.

ALERT LEVEL 3: Stay at home, other than for essential personal movement and going to work/school

Self-isolation

At all alert levels stringent self-isolation is required for people who display relevant symptoms of COVID-19,  test positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Mandatory quarantine/managed isolation is required for those who have been overseas in the last 14 days.

Where an employee is required to self-isolate (or must care for a dependant who is required to self- isolate) they should not come into the workplace and should work from home as much as  possible.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work from home, or to cover periods of unavailability for work, employees should receive paid special leave, paid at normal rates.

If an employee becomes ill with COVID-19 while in self-isolation, sick leave should be used. If the employee has insufficient sick leave the employee may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so that they continue to be paid.

If an employee wishes to self-isolate when public health advice does not require this, employers should:

  • take a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate the concerns of their employee in good faith
  • consider the risks to the employee, those in their household or ‘bubble’ and to other people in the workplace
  • determine an appropriate response in line with employer and employee duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and public health advice from the Ministry of Health.

If the parties agree that the employee should self-isolate based on public health guidelines and health and safety advice, the provisions above apply.

If the employer does not agree the employee should self-isolate, employers should treat the situation as a work from home request, generously applying the employer’s policy, and agree the employee works remotely wherever practicable.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work remotely, the employer should try to address the employee’s concerns as far as possible and ask the employee to attend work or agree a leave arrangement such as annual leave or unpaid special leave.

Maximising delivery of services

To maintain delivery of services, it may be necessary during all alert levels for some employees to cover work that is usually performed by other employees that is not within the scope of their role. Express agreement may be needed to do this.

As part of the planning process employers should adopt and promote an approach to employees voluntarily agreeing to temporarily change work functions, location and/or hours of work. This should include engagement with relevant unions. Where employment agreements allow flexibility in the type, location and hours of work, employers should work with their employees and unions to maximise any opportunities.

Agencies with lower priority functions should consider exploring where their employees may be able to assist priority service delivery by other agencies. These employees could agree to cover priority service delivery or be on call for others who may become unable to work. See the COVID-19 Workforce Mobility Guidance for State Services Agencies for further information.

Health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace

All workers should work from home if possible.

If workers cannot work from home, they may work at their workplace as long as customers are not allowed on the premises and the workplace is operating safely.

Safe workplace operation requires compliance with:

Every agency with any workers onsite must undertake a health and safety risk assessment and complete a plan outlining how it will manage health and safety and public health risks to workers and the workplace.

If employees are working from home, their home is considered a workplace and agencies have a responsibility to eliminate or minimise the risks as much as reasonably practicable. More information about working from home during COVID-19 has been developed by the Government Health and Safety Lead.

Agencies should promote general public health advice:

  • Wear a face covering when you are out and about
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces
  • Wash and dry hands, cough into elbow
  • Stay home if you’re sick, report flu-like symptoms
  • Keep track of where you have been using the COVID-19 tracer app
  • Maintain physical distancing.

Most staff are working from home so it is important employers consider the impacts on mental wellbeing by:

  • Ensuring EAP is accessible.
  • Ensuring managers have a plan to maintain connection with their teams.
  • Connecting staff with publicly available campaigns and resources.

Paid special leave for employees unable to work from home or in the workplace

For all employees who cannot work from home and cannot work safely in the workplace, paid special leave should be given, paid at normal rates.

Access to and payment of special leave for casual employees who cannot work from home

There may be circumstances where a casual employee was engaged to work when a workplace was closed due to not being able to operate safely. If the casual employee is unable to work from home, special leave should be provided, as with other employees.

Although a casual engagement can be ended by giving the appropriate notice in the agreement, agencies should also honour any rostered/agreed commitment that may exist for the period a workplace is inaccessible.

Some casual employees are engaged on a frequent, casual basis – for example where called on at short notice a number of times in a typical period. In these circumstances the employer would have expected to utilise the casual employee during a period the workplace is inaccessible. In the context of the COVID-19 response, State services employers should consider paying a typical average level of pay for the period to continue to support an important employment group, and to recognise that these employees do not have access to support through the Government’s wage subsidy scheme.

Sick/dependant leave

Employees may be unable to work due to COVID-19 related sickness or a requirement to care for dependants who are similarly unwell. In these circumstances:

  • Sick or dependant leave should be used, and payment should be in line with usual agency practice.
  • If the employee has insufficient sick leave, they may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so they can continue to be paid.

Employees may be unable to work, or only partially available to work if they need to care for a dependant whose usual care is unavailable or who is not sick but may require some care due to COVID-19 related reasons:

  • Employees should work to the extent possible, including from home.
  • Where it is not possible for an employee to work from home, and to cover periods of unavailability for work, dependant leave (or equivalent) if applicable should be used. Dependant leave (or equivalent) or paid special leave is paid as per normal agency practice.

If the employee has insufficient dependant leave, or dependant leave is only available for sickness, they may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so they can continue to be paid.

Annual leave

Show flexibility with requests for leave or requests to cancel previously approved annual leave.

Employers should not direct employees to use annual leave as there are limited opportunities for rest and recreation activities.

Employees may request annual leave as per normal processes. Employees should advise their employer whether pre-approved annual leave requests or new annual leave requests involve travel within New Zealand or overseas. Employers should ask employees requesting leave if they intend to travel during their leave (including outside their region).

Travel

Where there are restrictions on travel between regions, agencies should ensure any business travel complies with these restrictions.

For domestic travel restrictions employers and employees should refer to  personal movement advice for Alert Level 3 at covid19.govt.nz.

Updates on international travel advice are provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Immigration New Zealand.

If, for any reason, an employee requesting annual leave intends to travel overseas, or within New Zealand, contrary to public health advice, the employer and employee should discuss and agree how any required period of self-isolation or quarantine on return from leave should apply. In the first instance for any period of self-isolation, where practicable, the employee should work from home. If working from home is not practicable other forms of leave should be considered such as annual leave or special leave without pay.

If agreement cannot be reached between the employer and the employee, then the period of self-isolation will be unpaid leave.

Use of TOIL, alternative holidays and shift leave

TOIL, alternative holidays and shift leave accrual and use should be managed as per agency policies and employment agreements as far as possible, however:

  • Flexibility should be allowed where employees are unable to take TOIL soon after accrual.
  • TOIL should not be required to be taken instead of paid special leave for sickness dependent care or self-isolation as per public health advice.

Public holiday payment

At all alert levels public holidays should be paid according to the Holidays Act or the employment agreement.

School closure impacting on ability to work

Schools are open for children in Years 1 – 10 of people who cannot work from home. If caregiving is available parents are encouraged to keep children at home.

Where a school or early learning centre closure affects an employee’s ability to attend the workplace, the employee should work from home as much as possible. If they cannot work from home, or are only partially available for work, special paid leave should be given for time not working.

ALERT LEVEL 4: Stay at home, other than for essential personal movement and doing essential work

Self-Isolation

At all alert levels self-isolation is required for people who display symptoms relevant to COVID-19, test positive for COVID-19, or have been in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID-19. Mandatory quarantine/managed isolation is required for those who have been overseas in the last 14 days.

Where an employee is required to self-isolate (or must care for a dependant who is required to self- isolate) they should work from home to the extent possible.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work from home, or to cover periods of unavailability for work, employees should receive paid special leave, paid at normal rates.

If an employee becomes ill with COVID-19 while in self-isolation, sick leave should be used. If the employee has insufficient sick leave the employee may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so that they continue to be paid.

If an employee wishes to self-isolate when public health advice does not require this, employers should:

  • take a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate the concerns of their employee in good faith
  • consider the risk to the employee and those in their household unit or ‘bubble’ and risk to other people in the workplace
  • determine an appropriate response in line with employer and employee duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 and public health advice from the Ministry of Health.

If the parties agree that the employee should self-isolate based on public health guidelines and health and safety advice, the provisions above apply.

If the employer does not agree the employee should self-isolate, employers should treat the situation as a work from home request, generously applying the employer’s policy, and agree the employee works remotely wherever practicable.

Where it is not possible for an employee to work remotely, the employer should try to address the employee’s concerns as far as possible and ask the employee to attend work or agree a leave arrangement such as annual leave or unpaid special leave.

Maximising delivery of services

It may be necessary during all alert levels for some employees to cover work that is usually performed by other employees that is not within the scope of their role to maintain delivery of services. It is likely that in some cases, express agreement may be needed.

As part of the planning process employers should adopt and promote an approach to employees voluntarily agreeing to temporarily change work functions, location and/or hours of work. This should include engagement with relevant unions. Where employment agreements allow flexibility in the type, location and hours of work, employers should work with their employees and unions to maximise any opportunities.

Agencies with lower priority functions should consider exploring where their employees may be able to assist priority service delivery by other agencies. These employees could agree to cover priority service delivery or be on call for others who may become unable to work. See the COVID-19 Workforce Mobility Guidance for State Services Agencies for further information.

Health, safety and wellbeing in the workplace

Everyone should work from home if possible with some essential workers required to work at their workplace.

Every agency with essential workers must undertake a health and safety risk assessment and complete a plan outlining how the agency will manage health and safety and public health risks to workers and in the workplace.

If workers are working from home, their home is considered a workplace and agencies have a responsibility to eliminate or minimise the risks as much as reasonably practicable. More information about working from home during COVID-19 has been developed by the Government Health and Safety Lead.

Agencies should promote general public health advice (regularly disinfect surfaces; wash and dry hands, cough into elbow, don’t touch your face; stay home if you’re sick, report flu-like symptoms).

Most staff are working from home so it is important employers consider the impacts on mental wellbeing:

  • Ensure EAP is accessible.
  • Ensure managers have a plan to maintain connection with their teams.
  • Connect staff with publicly available campaigns and resources.

Paid special leave for employees unable to work from home or in the workplace

For all employees who cannot work from home and are not deemed essential paid special leave should be given, paid at normal rates.

Access to and payment of special leave for casual employees

There will be circumstances where a casual employee was engaged to work when the workplace was closed due to the requirements of the COVID-19. If the casual employee therefore is not able to work, special leave should be provided, as with other employees.

Although a casual engagement can be ended by giving the appropriate notice in the agreement, agencies should also honour any rostered/agreed commitment that may exist for the period a workplace is inaccessible.

Some casual employees are engaged on a frequent, casual basis – for example where called on at short notice a number of times in a typical period. In these circumstances the employer would have expected to utilise the casual employee during a period the workplace is inaccessible. In the context of the COVID-19 response, State services employers should consider paying a typical average level of pay for the period to continue to support an important employment group, and to recognise that these employees do not have access to support through the Government’s wage subsidy scheme.

Sick/Dependant Leave

Employees may be unable to work due to COVID-19 related sickness or a requirement to care for dependants who are similarly unwell. In these circumstances:

  • Sick or dependant leave should be used, and payment should be in line with usual agency practice.
  • If the employee has insufficient sick leave, they may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so they can continue to be paid.

Employees may be unable to work, or only partially available to work if they need to care for a dependant whose usual care is unavailable or who is not sick but may require some care due to COVID-19 related reasons:

  • Employees should work to the extent possible, including from home.
  • Where it is not possible for an employee to work from home, and to cover periods of unavailability for work, dependant leave (or equivalent) if applicable should be used. Dependant leave (or equivalent) or paid special leave is paid as per normal agency practice.

If the employee has insufficient dependant leave, or dependant leave is only available in relation to sickness, they may receive additional discretionary leave/paid special leave so they can continue to be paid.

Annual Leave

Show flexibility in relation to requests for leave or requests to cancel previously approved annual leave.

Employers should not direct employees to utilise annual leave as there are limited opportunities for rest and recreation activities.

Employees may request annual leave as per normal processes. Employees should advise their employer whether pre-approved annual leave requests or new annual leave requests involve travel within New Zealand or overseas. Employers should ask employees requesting leave if they intend to travel during their leave (including outside their region).

Employers and employees should refer to travel restrictions for Alert Levels 3 and 4 and updates on travel advice provided by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Immigration New Zealand.

If, for any reason, an employee requesting annual leave intends to travel overseas, or within New Zealand, contrary to public health advice, the employer and employee should discuss and agree how any required period of self-isolation or quarantine on return from leave should apply. In the first instance for any period of self-isolation, where practicable, the employee should work from home. If working from home is not practicable other forms of leave should be considered such as annual leave or special leave without pay.

If agreement cannot be reached between the employer and the employee, then the period of self-isolation will be unpaid leave.

Use of TOIL, alternative holidays and shift leave

TOIL, alternative holidays and shift leave accrual and use should be managed as per agency policies and employment agreements as far as possible, however:

  • Flexibility should be allowed where employees are unable to take TOIL soon after accrual.
  • TOIL should not be required to be taken instead of paid special leave for sickness dependent care or self-isolation as per public health advice.

Public holiday payment

At all alert levels public holidays should be paid according to the Holidays Act or the employment agreement.

School closure impacting on ability to work

Schools are closed.

Employees should work from home to the extent possible. Where the employee cannot work from home, or is only partially available for work, special paid leave should be given for time not working.

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