New Zealand calls on for companies to be prepared for Omicron disruption
The New Zealand government has begun urging companies to prepare for the possible labour shortages and supply disruptions that could potentially happen with the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson cautioned firms to ensure business continuity plans are in place and vowed government support.
He warned that the impact of the variant could be severe, as modelling has shown that in an event of 25,000 daily cases there could be 350,000 workers who are self-isolating a day.
“What we see from overseas is the supply side of the economy is where the big impacts have been,” he said at a press conference, according to Bloomberg.
“We’re working very hard to make sure we don’t see disruption but inevitably there will be some,” Robertson added.
The government will provide leave-support payments to firms to pay employees who are required to self-isolate at home should they test positive. Based on 25,000 cases a day, the support scheme is estimated to pay employers some NZ$50 million (US$34 million) a week.
The government has since raised the alert level to “red”, which restricts gathering limits and imposes social distancing requirements.