Employment under level 3

13 August 2020

Following 4 cases of community transmission in South Auckland, the Government has put Auckland back into level 3 lockdown and level 2 for the rest of the country from 12pm today Wednesday 12th August 2020.

Level 3 means only essential businesses and those which can operate in a non-contact way can open.
Although the Government are saying this lockdown is only until midnight this Friday (14th Aug) we are fearing this may be extended.
One of the most pressing questions is now “Do you have to pay staff for no work if you don’t have a wage subsidy?”
Whether or not you have qualified for a wage subsidy is almost a separate issue.

Essentially, the same applies this time in lock down as it did before. The normal rules of Employment Law apply. You cannot simply default to paying staff at 80% or stop paying at all.
In the first instance check your Employment Agreements and/or variations you may have made in recent times.

If you have pandemic or force majeure clauses which refer to pandemics you may not need to pay, however if you have the wage subsidy there is an expectation you will pass that on at a minimum.
Also consider what minimum hours are in your agreements. Further, check your shift cancellation clauses if you have them. While true casual staff simply won’t be offered work over lockdown, if you have already engaged them for the period, you need to abide by any cancellation requirements if specified.

At all times act in good faith and look out for each other.

(SOURCE: Employer Assistance, retrieved from www.employers.co.nz)

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