News & thinking

Covid:

Returning employees to the workplace

, , , ,
Vaccination rates are high and we have begun to contemplate herd immunity whilst New Zealand works our way towards the conclusion of the current Omicron outbreak. Employers may now be looking to return their employees to the workplace in lieu…

The End of the Mandate…

, , , , ,
After the decision of Yardly[1], IOX[2] and the wide spread community transmission of Covid-19, we waited with baited breath to see what changes the Government would make to the Covid-19 Protection Framework and the government vaccine mandates…

COVID-19 Changes announced

, , , , ,
What are the changes and what do these mean for your business? This morning (23 March 2022) the New Zealand Government announced significant amendment to vaccination mandates, the COVID-19 Protection Framework and 'My Vaccine Pass' requirements. Following…

Are vaccine mandates under threat?

, , , ,
As we head into the peak of Omicron, vaccine mandates remain highly contentious and the subject of prolonged protests around the country. Rather than joining the protest, three Police and Defence Force workers have convinced the High Court that…
Calendar with a pin marking a public holiday

To Mondayise or not to Mondayise, that is the festive season question…

, ,
It’s hard to believe it’s almost Christmas again and yet last Christmas feels like an eternity ago. This year Christmas, Boxing Day, New Years and 2nd January public holidays will fall over the weekend and will, in some cases, need to be…
Silhouettes of travellers in an airport walking

Case summary WXN vs. Auckland International Airport

, , ,
Unvaccinated Auckland International Airport employee granted interim reinstatement The Employment Court has granted an employee interim reinstatement after his employment was terminated for refusing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. His employer,…
Woman wearing a mask getting a vaccination

New law on vaccine requirements in the workplace

, , ,
The Covid-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Bill was introduced yesterday and is expected to be passed into law later this week.  The Bill sets out the process an employer must follow to terminate an employee’s employment for failing…
Man putting on a disposible mask

COVID employment law complexities

, ,
Why faster isn’t always better when setting workplace policy. The fallout from COVID has created some of the greatest societal polarisation in living memory, and as New Zealand adjusts to the realities of living with the virus, workplaces…
Young masked woman looking into the camera
People line up for COVID tests being given by someone in PPE
COVID-19 Graphic

COVID-19 vaccination – can you make it mandatory on health and safety grounds?

, , ,
Organisations have well-known obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) to ensure, so far as reasonably practicable, the health and safety of workers. With public access to the COVID-19 vaccine expected within the coming…
Man lays across couch with legs kicked up reading

Does no work during lockdown mean no pay?

,
In late December 2020, the first COVID related Employment Court decision (Gate Gourmet New Zealand Limited and Ors v Sandhu and Ors [2020] NZEmpC 237) was released. The majority of the full court found that employers did not have to pay employees…
Graphic design of two people facing the camera wearing masks.

Immigration, Employment and the Tech industry: FAQ in a post Covid-19 environment

,
On Thursday, 3 September 2020 our leading experts in employment, immigration and technology law appeared as a panel for IT Professionals New Zealand. As part of this, our experts answered some frequently asked questions around employment, immigration…
Digital representation of SARS-CoV-2

Impact of COVID-19 on contractual obligations

, ,
With the widespread disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, many businesses will be worried about how this impacts contractual performance. In particular, the first lockdown, and the recent sudden move to Alert Levels 2 and 3 will have…
Single house in a row red against the other white houses.

The ability to enforce following lease and mortgage defaults

, , ,
On 15 April, the Government announced further temporary changes to legislation giving some relief to commercial tenants and mortgagors. Particularly, changes to current legislation were introduced extending the timeframes that tenants and…
silhouettes of construction workers at the end of day

How does the construction and infrastructure sector respond to Covid and plans to regenerate?

,
Hamish Glenn, Policy Director at Infrastructure New Zealand, New Zealand’s peak infrastructure body, discusses the changes to the industry brought on by Covid and their response to the proposed stimulus plans. As part of the response to…
COVID-19 embossed and painted white on a red plastic see-through button.

Can e-commerce create opportunities both nationally and internationally for New Zealand?

,
The Covid crisis has seen many retailers seeking to streamline their business, reduce costs and innovate to attract new customers. Retail NZ’s CEO, Greg Harford takes a closer look at the challenges the sector faces. There has been much…
Technology and lights

Implementing new technology during a pandemic

, ,
Covid-19 lockdowns have forced change on the business world. Two of the most visible areas of change have been in relation to the way we work and operate and the technology we use to support our work and operations. As restrictions have eased,…

FAQs regarding COVID-19 related restructures

,
Can an employer change the terms of an employee's agreement unilaterally because of COVID-19? An employer cannot unilaterally change the terms of an employee's employment without having consulted with the employee first. Employers must consult…
Digital COVID-19 representation.

5 Key learnings from the Covid-19 lockdown

,
The aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdown will likely see a significant litigation spike, as there will inevitably be disputes about parties’ contractual obligations and who bears the risk of lockdown ramifications. We have looked back on…

Has Covid-19 created a new flexible working regime?

,
For the better part of 2020, the outbreak of Covid-19 has challenged ordinary operations in the workplace. Globally, professionals have had to adapt, improvise and overcome problems that most have never faced before. Many have found this…
Vials of COVID-19 Vaccinations

Easing corporate governance in COVID-19

,
On 16 May a new law came into effect with temporary measures aimed at easing  corporate governance for companies and certain other types of incorporated entities in these times of physical distancing for COVID-19. The new temporary measures…

Businesses operating at Alert Level 3 and 2: What happens if an employee refuses to return to work?

,
As businesses resume operating in Level 3, and with the hope that the  New Zealand Government will announce a return to Level 2 soon, employees may be feeling some anxiety about returning to work. To operate at Level 3, businesses should…

When returning to work consider these health and safety issues related to COVID-19

, ,
We imagine you (like the majority of our clients) will want to resume work as soon as you can, and part of doing so will be grappling with the health and safety related issues around COVID-19. We are naturally getting quite a few queries…

Changes to visa rules, to help with the Covid-19 pandemic

, , ,
On 16 April, some visa rules were temporarily relaxed for those working within businesses providing “essential services”.   Employers can submit an application, online, to have migrant workers’ visas amended.   In…

Operational changes for businesses under Alert Level 3

,
The Government has announced that Alert Level 3 will commence at 11.59pm on Monday 27 April 2020. At Level 3 some businesses that were not operating under Alert Level 4 will be permitted to operate under strict restrictions. Sectors able…

Where there’s a Will there’s a way

, ,
The COVID-19 pandemic may prompt you to consider whether your existing estate and asset planning arrangements are appropriate and up to date.   It is an exercise that is often put in the ‘too hard’ basket because, well, let’s…

What you need to know about the Covid-19 Essential Workers Leave Support Scheme

,
On 6 April 2020, the New Zealand Government announced a new leave support scheme for employees of essential businesses. The Essential Workers Leave Support Scheme is part of the wider relief package proposed by the Government to address the…

Can employees be made redundant if their employer is receiving Government support?

,
The Covid-19 pandemic is causing widespread economic damage across a variety of industries but the Government have made it clear: the law still applies. Is restructuring your organisation the best option? At Alert Level 4, various Government…
Depcition of a person looking out the window while working from a laptop

Employment obligations: COVID-19, privacy and working from home

, ,
We answer some frequently asked questions, around employers obligations to ensure their employees privacy whilst working from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of my employees has told me that they have possible COVID-19 symptoms. Can…

UPDATED: The definition of essential goods and the law of unintended consequences…

, , ,
Update as at 18 April:   In the original version of this article (below), we highlighted some potential issues with the Government restrictions on freight movements.  The Ministry of Transport has now updated its rules and we have…
Morning shot of the highway with trucks on either side

Changes to standard operating procedures for essential transport and logistics businesses

,
Essential businesses must take steps to minimise infection risks for their workers – both to comply with Covid-19 Government requirements and existing health and safety law. That means minimising contact, physical distancing, increasing the…
Large container ship rests in a waveless bay

An update: Exports and imports to/from key markets

,
New Zealand Trade and Enterprise (NZTE) has set up an excellent website gathering the latest updates from its international teams on COVID-19 in key markets and other information for exporters. The site was focussed on China, but now includes…

Travelling to New Zealand: The travel ban and exemptions

, , ,
Immigration New Zealand (INZ) has published guidance about the exemptions to the current travel ban.   What is the current travel ban? From 23:59pm on Thursday, 19 March, New Zealand closed its borders. The assumption is that people…
Boardroom with table and chairs

Safe harbour for directors – Relief for businesses or storm brewing?

, , , ,
Parliament is introducing legislation to amend the Companies Act to assist companies facing solvency issues as a result of COVID-19. The hope is that this will assist companies to trade through and keep employees on board during this time…
The word 'Lockdown' made up of tiled letters

Mitigating insolvency risks during COVID-19 lockdown

, ,
The COVID-19 pandemic will have a significant financial impact on all businesses across New Zealand, particularly as a result of the Government-directed lockdown. The nationwide financial impact may give rise to solvency issues for some businesses. Now…

COVID-19: What do essential services need to do to manage health and safety?

, ,
The pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus has seen New Zealand – and the world – plunged into uncharted territory. On 26 March 2020, the Government took the unprecedented step of raising New Zealand’s COVID-19 alert to level four, resulting…

IMMIGRATION: COVID-19 migrant workers

, ,
Migrant workers are very vulnerable right now. The economic landscape is also difficult for employers. Here are answers to some common questions we have received from migrants and their employers.   Can we reduce migrant workers’…

Court proceedings under COVID-19 alert level four

, , ,
At midnight on Wednesday 25 March 2020 New Zealand moved into COVID-19 alert level 4, after which, only essential services remain operating.   The Ministry of Justice has advised that the Courts will be closed to the public, and only…

Tax relief measures for COVID-19

, ,
The Government has introduced various initial tax concessions to help with meeting your tax obligations.    The terms of the relief are not yet passed into legislation However some of the relief measures introduced in the Bill,…

Deductibility of home office expenses and employee reimbursements

,
On 17 March, Government announced their relief package for the financial fallout from COVID-19. This included various business tax concessions. They included: The re-introduction of tax depreciation on commercial and buildings at a diminishing…

Coronavirus – Useful steps all employers should consider

,
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the recent outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus originating out of Wuhan, China, comes from a family of viruses that includes the common cold, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle…

What should you be doing now to mitigate the health and safety risks posed by a potential Coronavirus outbreak in New Zealand?

, ,
In the wake of the World Health Organisation (WHO) declaring the Coronavirus outbreak a global health emergency, China going into lockdown, and the New Zealand Ministry of Health advising against travel plans in the near future, New Zealand…