Alert Level 3: What it means for your workplace

The Prime Minister announced yesterday, that at 11:59pm on Monday 27 April 2020, New Zealand will move into Alert Level 3. This article sets out the key considerations that Employers need to understand about what Alert Level 3 will mean for their workplace.

Who can operate during Alert Level 3?

Alert Level 3 will allow for some more economic activity, but with a number of restrictions still in place. Employees must continue to work and learn from home, if they can. This means, that for any business that already have employees working from home, they must continue to do so.  But if your business does require employees to come onsite for work, then you must follow social distancing and you should also ensure that you have procedures in place to collect information required for contact tracing, if the Ministry of Health requested this information from you. Furthermore, business must only operate in a way that involves no ‘face-to-face’ interaction and only engage in contactless delivery.

Preparing for Alert Level 3 – what can you do now?

If you can return to your Workplace under Alert Level 3, then this week you will be allowed to return in order to “prepare”. The Prime Minister was clear in her announcement that this does not mean that non-essential businesses can re-open prior to Tuesday 28 April 2020, but it does mean that some activities such as collecting stock or preforming cleaning can be undertaken.  It is important that when returning to your workplace to “prepare” you follow all Ministry of Health Guidelines in relation to social distancing practices.

Planning for Level 3 – what should you think about?

This week, your workplace needs to ensure that it has a COVID-19 plan for re-opening. There are a range of business-specific factors to consider, but from an employment perspective we recommend you consider:

Factor What workplaces need to plan for
Health &
safety
Your obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 still apply, at every alert level. As an employer, you are therefore responsible for the health and safety of your workforce and the work you do. We recommend introducing a specific COVID-19 Workplace Health and Safety Plan as well as increasing your health and safety procedures.
Employees You will need to consider how many employees you truly need to return to work, can you accommodate at home work arrangement, and what will be the ‘right size’ of your workforce, moving forward.
Customers Under Alert Level 3 you cannot operate with any physical contact with customers. You will need to plan whether there are ways you can run your business while keeping in accordance with this.
Training Also consider whether your employees have the training and capabilities to perform their duties under these new circumstances.

When will Alert Level 3 be lifted?

At this stage, Cabinet will meet on 11 May 2020 (2 weeks after we go into Alert Level 3) to discuss whether we will move to Alert Level 2. An announcement will be made that same day.

If you need to get comprehensive advice on your obligations and plan for Alert Level 3, please feel free to contact a member of Lane Neave’s Employment Law team.

Workplace Law team

Employment: Andrew Shaw, Fiona McMillan, Gwen DrewittMaria Green,  Hannah Martin, Joseph HarropHolly StruckmanAlex Beal, Giuliana PetronelliAna Fruean, Abby Shieh
Immigration: Mark Williams, Rachael Mason, Daniel Kruger, Nicky Robertson, Julia StrickettKen Huang, Mary Zhou, Shi Sheng Cai (Shoosh)Sarah Kirkwood, Janeske SchutteLingbo Yu
ACC: Andrew Shaw
Health and Safety: Andrew ShawFiona McMillan

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