COVID-19: guide for employers

With the number of cases of COVID-19 increasing in New Zealand, we are working closely with employers to support their business in line with the Government's latest alert level measures.

The latest - March 31st, Day 6 of Level-4 measures

There are 647 probable and confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country. We are now in Level 4 (the highest) measures taken by the Government to reduce the spread of COVID-19. This means that all non-essential businesses are closed for at least 4 weeks unless they have arranged for their services to be provided remotely from home.

There are now travel restrictions on who can enter New Zealand. Click here for more information.

New Zealand’s four-level COVID-19 alert system specifies public health and social measures to be taken against COVID-19. You can download a copy of the poster here.

Here are the level 4 measures that affect you:

  • New Zealand's borders are closed to almost all travellers - click here for exceptions
  • People instructed to stay at home
  • Educational facilities closed
  • Businesses closed except (unless able to operate remotely) for essential services (e.g. supermarkets, pharmacies, clinics) and lifeline utilities. Click here to view list of essential services
  • Rationing of supplies and requisitioning of facilities
  • Travel severely limited
  • Major reprioritisation of healthcare services

You can read more about the current COVID-19 alert level here.

Economic support: The Government has announced a multi-million dollar rescue package for businesses which includes:

For more information about whether your business is eligible, how much is available and how to apply - click here

Immediate employer response

Protection of workers: 

    • Unless your business provides essential services, employers should now be closed or have introduced working from home if possible 
    • Business continuity plans should now be activated
    • Employers should be establishing if they are eligible for wage subsidies 
    • Provide mental health and wellbeing support remotely

Managing disruptions: What essential goods and services do you rely on and how are you managing any disruptions to supply?

Are you legally compliant?: Remember which laws apply to you when implementing measures. For example, do your remote working methods adhere as best as possible to privacy law standards and are you compliant with health and safety requirements?

HR support

Employers should consider the following:

  • How to manage current and future workload
  • Managing the performance of a remote workforce
  • Keeping people informed and engaged while maintaining morale and company culture

Employers need to ensure they remain fair and reasonable throughout this period. 

We can help you find solutions and overcome difficult decisions to ensure you are doing so in a right and fair manner. This can include:

  • Workforce planning
  • Change management
  • Redundancies

Download our HR guidance for businesses here.

What next?

Steve Kennedy, managing director and principal consultant of EQ Consultants, said: "During these incredibly difficult times, businesses will need to find ways of navigating through the economic challenges we are faced with. The challenges in supporting people will be incredible.

"Businesses also need to not lose sight that there will be an end so a period of rebuilding will take place. However, in the short term, many companies will be required to reduce costs and change the way people are working. The current situation does not take away an employer's obligations."

Principal consultant of EQ Consultants, Viv Patterson added: "Most businesses will be able to seek support through the Government - however, this may not cover everything. If you would like to talk through your options as a business and for further support – please get in touch. This is an important time for employers to act accordingly now and for the months ahead. Give us a call to discuss your situation and potential options.”

Useful links

Get in touch

To discuss your options call us (03) 366 4034 or email info@eqconsultants.co.nz