New Zealand unions urge workplaces to adopt safe practices

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) and Business New Zealand (BNZ) have called on workplaces to help the country get through the pandemic safely.
By: | March 3, 2021

In a joint statement, CTU president Richard Wagstaff said, “Workplaces are a crucial element of New Zealand’s defence against COVID-19. It’s vital that everyone, both employers and employees, work together.” 

Concurring, BNZ chief executive Kirk Hope said, “We have a COVID-19 strategy that is really quite simple – everyone must stay away from [the] work[place] and isolate if they have symptoms or are a close contact. It’s essential everyone is willing and able to stick to this strategy”. 

Wagstaff added, “We need to work together so that isolation is not only the right thing to do, but also the easy thing to do. Workplaces must communicate this message so that everyone knows what’s expected of them. There should be no disadvantage or penalty of any kind for shielding others from COVID-19.” 

“Every business and every worker must do everything in their power to get ahead of the latest COVID outbreak. The consequences and costs of failure would be huge for all of us,” said Hope. 

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To overcome the impact of the pandemic, the central government has launched a series of financial support, including: 

  • The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment, which employers and the self-employed can access to help pay for staff who cannot work from home while waiting for COVID-19 test results. This is a one-off payment of NZ$350 (US$254) for each eligible worker.
  • The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who need to self-isolate and cannot work from home. The scheme is paid as a lump sum and covers two weeks per eligible employee, up to NZ$1,176.60 (US$855) for those who were working 20 hours or more per week.
  • The Resurgence Support Payment is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to level 2 or higher. 
  • The Wage Subsidy for employers and self-employed people impacted by COVID-19 details of which will be available this week.

Both CTU and BNZ will continue to engage positively and constructively with the government to ensure adequate support and information is disseminated to workplaces, according to Scoop.