We have been advised that MBIE’s Mediation Services are inundated with mediation applications as a result of COVID-19 and that delays are to be expected. Employers (and employees) can expect a wait time of up to six weeks before receiving contact about setting down a date for mediation, with the exception of urgent matters (for example if the employee is still employed or there is an urgent interim injunction/reinstatement application). As always, these will be given preference over applications concerning compensation claims. MBIE has recommended that applicants give as much detail in the mediation application as possible to assist with triaging applications.
There has also been talk in the media of MBIE establishing an “early intervention service” to process claims quickly. We understand, however, that this may be reference to prioritisation of mediation applications, rather than any other kind of mechanism that MBIE will be offering. We will keep you updated if anything comes to light.