The COVID-19 Public Health Response (Protection Framework) Order 2021 (Order) has finally been issued. This Order provides the legal framework for the COVID-19 Protection Framework, known as the traffic light system. The Order comes into effect 11:59 pm on Thursday, 2 December 2021. This Order revokes the previous public health order, COVID-19 Public Health Response (Alert Level Requirements) Order (No 12) 2021 which [...]
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The passing of the COVID-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Act 2021 (Act) on 25 November 2021 marks the legal shift in the next stage of New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation will most likely be the most important legislation passed by Parliament this year for employers. Potentially, because of the urgency in which it was passed, there were no major amendments to the [...]
As New Zealand moves to make vaccinations the cornerstone of New Zealand’s COVID-19 response under the COVID-19 Protection Framework, it is equally important that employers have a clear legal framework for the role which vaccinations will play in the workplace. Therefore, it is welcome news to employers that the COVID-19 Response (Vaccinations) Legislation Bill was introduced into Parliament yesterday to help clarify how employers [...]
In what is welcome news to many employers, the Court of Appeal has overruled the Employment Court’s judgment regarding discretionary incentive payments under the Holidays Act 2003. The Court of Appeal held that where incentive schemes reserve a discretion for an employer not to make payment, such incentive payments are discretionary under the Holidays Act. This means that the payments would not form part [...]
Yesterday, the Government announced a range of measures to help protect workplaces and workers from the negative consequences of COVID-19. The intended measures will provide many employers with certainty that following robust health and safety risk assessments, they will be able to require certain roles to be performed by fully vaccinated workers. One of the key measures announced is the vaccine mandate. It [...]
The Government’s recent decision to amend the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 (“Order”) to require fully vaccinated workers in the health and disability, and education sectors demonstrates that vaccine mandates will be an effective tool to help manage and eliminate health and safety risks arising from the Delta variant in the workplace. Despite the Order, many employers still remain responsible for determining [...]
This article was written by Priscilla Dickinson, and published on Newshub (8 September 2021). Getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is free and reduces the risk of getting seriously ill and transmitting the virus to others. Ministry of Health figures on Monday show 3.95 million COVID-19 vaccine doses have been administered: 62 percent of the eligible population have received a first dose and 32 percent [...]
As New Zealand continues its public vaccination rollout, many employers are eager to encourage their workers to get vaccinated. Many employers already provide paid time off to their employees who attend their vaccine appointments during working hours. However, some employers are going further to provide rewards and incentives for their employees to get vaccinated. For example, broadband company Universal Communications Group (UCG) has [...]
The courts in New Zealand have not confronted this difficult issue, and it is not clear precisely how the courts would assess and balance the relevant competing rights and interests. In this article, we outline the competing interests and the applicable legal principles which need to be considered. Background First, we note that the COVID-19 Public Health Response (Vaccinations) Order 2021 (“Order”) requires [...]
Can employers fire you if you refuse to get vaccinated? An expert weighs in on COVID-19 vaccine mandates
This article was written by Ireland Hendry-Tennent, and published on Newshub (27 August 2021). As the Delta outbreak continues to grow and New Zealand's vaccine rollout ramps up, there are questions around whether employers can fire people for refusing to get the jab. Last month the Government expanded its mandatory vaccine requirements to include workers at ports and airports who are at the greatest [...]