Navigating Employment Issues in Alert Level 4

Navigating Employment Issues in Alert Level 4

On Tuesday night at 11.59 pm New Zealand entered Alert Level 4. This is a disconcerting time for employers and employees. We learnt from last time that employment obligations continue as usual, this means that among other things, an employer cannot unilaterally reduce an employee’s pay; an employer must consult with the employee if they are disestablishing their role; an employer must discuss in good faith changes to work arrangements; and if an employee is working the employee must continue to receive the minimum wage. Overall, the key to getting through this period is for both employees and employers to communicate with each other.

The Government also confirmed that Covid relief will be available including the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy; the Short-Term Absence Payment, the Leave Support Scheme and the Resurgence Support Scheme. As a reminder, applications for the Wage Subsidy opened Friday, 20 August 2021 for two weeks. To be eligible for the Wage Subsidy you must:

• Operate a business in New Zealand that employs and pays the employees named in your application;

• Meet the revenue decline test set out in the declaration – you are eligible if you expect a loss of 40% of revenue as a result of going to Alert Levels 3 or 4 for a week or more.

Employers will be eligible for $600.00 per week for each full-time employee and $359.00 a week for each part-time employee. All amounts must be passed on to the employee.

More information is available at:  Work and Income News - Wage Subsidy August 2021

If you need any assistance navigating employment matters, please contact Melissa Johnston (Partner) on (09) 306 6729 (

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© McVeagh Fleming 2021

This article is published for general information purposes only.  Legal content in this article is necessarily of a general nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice.  If you require specific legal advice in respect of any legal issue, you should always engage a lawyer to provide that advice.