Covid-19: How to prepare your workplace

We've put together a comprehensive guide on how your workplace can prepare for Covi-19.

Covid-19 is still a topic of much discussion, with cases and deaths rising worldwide. In times like this, it’s easy to panic. With that in mind, we recommend following Dr Siouxsie Wiles. She is an Associate Professor and Head of the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland. Siouxsie brings a sound evidence-based approach.

Read Siouxsie’s latest updates

How should your business respond?

There are many government sources providing guidance and support as part of the response to COVID-19. Here are a number of these sources together in one place.

Workplace response to COVID-19:

Find information around workplace preparedness, getting ready for an emergency, and sick leave entitlements on employment.govt.nz

The World Health Organisation has also developed a guide to getting your workplace ready

Information for small business:

Find information for importers and exporters, tax obligations, travel and several links to crucial information being provided by other government agencies on business.govt.nz

Information on health and safety: 

If you have health concerns, information and advice about coronavirus is available from the Ministry of Health

Our advice to you:

We should be taking a risk-based approach, continuously monitoring the situation and adapting our plan as things evolve. Things you should consider:

  • Ensuring remote working options are in place, should you need them
  • Staff self-quarantining where risk factors exist (such as overseas travel from recognised hotspots, or exposure to people with such risk factors)
  • Investing in, testing and prioritising the use of videoconferencing facilities where appropriate
  • Considering delay or cancellation of non-essential overseas travel (some firms are delaying travel to Australia due to a recent surge in confirmed cases, and at least three deaths). Read immigration New Zealand’s latest travel advice
  • Monitoring import restrictions and the economic situation to ascertain their impacts on programmes and projects

Let’s all make a plan, and hope we don’t need it. But it’s there if we do.

What does it mean for contracts?

The economic impacts of Covid-19 are likely to be significant.

The US Federal Reserve slashed interest rates in the first emergency rate cut since the global financial crisis, tech giants like Apple, Microsoft and Google are looking to move production out of China, and global airlines are expecting revenues to fall massively.

Closer to home, the virus is affecting New Zealand's export, tourism and education sectors, with key supply chains and other industries and markets likely to be affected.

As a result, many New Zealand companies are assessing the impact of the virus on their contractual obligations. 

Read more about Covid-19, force majeure clauses and the doctrine of frustration in this article from Bell Gully

Sick leave 

Now’s a good time to brush up on your sick leave knowledge. 

Did you know that sick leave entitlements are not pro-rated in any way?  

This means that even if a part-time employee only works three days a week, they still get five days’ sick leave a year and can accumulate up to 20 sick days a year. 

Find out more about sick leave entitlements

ACE New Zealand events

At this time we are proceeding with all ACE New Zealand events per usual. We are monitoring and abiding by Government recommendations and will contact attendees should things change. If you feel unwell or have recently travelled to a high-risk area, please contact us to discuss options available to you.