Covid-19 & Employment
Frequently asked questions
How do I know if I qualify for Covid-19 government support?
Review this declaration. This is what you are agreeing to when you apply for the Wage Subsidy or similar. Note, this has been updated since it was originally brought out in March 2020.
Can I reduce my employees’ pay during lockdowns?
Whether you are open or not, you cannot reduce an employee's pay without their agreement, if they are available to work. This includes by reducing their hours of work. Without this you should pay them as usual.
Can I ask them to use holiday pay or go on unpaid leave instead?
You cannot force them without their agreement. You can direct them to take annual leave but only with 14 days written notice (if they have significant leave owing).
Can I shut down my businesses for a short time instead so that employees have to use
Not really. If you were to do this, you would need to give at least 14 days notice of the start date and provide a concrete end date. This cannot be indefinite or an unreasonable amount of time. It also could be seen as unfair given that employees could not predict this happening and therefore may have no annual leave entitlements.
Do I have to pay them if they need a Covid Test or are unable to work due to health
Yes. This may look like sick pay or you can apply for government support under the Short Term Leave Payment or the Covid-19 leave Support Scheme
Can I make my employees wear masks or get vaccinated?
You can make an employee wear a mask if either the government mandates it, and or you have a policy around this and it is reasonable. You can potentially ask employees to have a vaccination but most businesses will at least need to have a policy and risk assessment of their role’s risk before doing so.
Do I still have to make kiwisaver contributions, accrue their holiday pay and pay their PAYE?
Yes. You are legally required to do so.