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Essential Service Employees and Covid-19

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Essential Service Employees and Covid-19

Essential Service Employees and Covid-19

Is my business ‘considered’ an Essential Service?

There is a list of Essential Services – these are any business that provides for the necessities of life. Only businesses that are included in this list of Essential Services are allowed to operate during Alert Level 4 Lockdown.

This list is updated regularly at https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/current-covid-19-alert-level/essential-businesses/.

The Government has released a statement that if New Zealand remains at this Alert Level for a greater period than the initial 4 weeks, more businesses will be listed as Essential Services in order to facilitate the self-isolation of the majority of the population.

What does this mean for employers and employees?

Employers are not released from their obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.  They must continue to protect their workers against harm to their health, safety, and welfare by eliminating and minimising risks arising from work. This includes initiating and applying specific Covid-19 protocols to ensure the safety and protection of their Employees. If an Employer does not do this, they could suffer prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 for exposing their Employees to danger.

Essential Services will continue to operate during Alert Level 4 but if alternative ways of working are possible then they should be considered and used. Protocols that should be implemented by Employers include: 

  • Shift working with the same group of Employees to reduce cross-infection of household bubbles;
  • Staggered meal breaks for Employees rostered on;
  • Reinforcing and practicing physical distancing of minimum of 2 metres;
  • High standard of cleanliness, frequent cleaning of all areas that have exposure to people;
  • Personal protective equipment for Employees where appropriate

 

Essential Service Employees and Covid-19