The New Zealand government will be releasing a tool in mid-December to assist New Zealand employers to determine if their employees need to be vaccinated.
This is part of the process designed to protect businesses and workers from COVID-19 as New Zealand prepares itself to transition to the new COVID-19 protection framework which kicks in from 3 December 2021.
Employees covered by the “My Vaccine Pass” mandate, requiring employees to be vaccinated in certain workplaces, will need to have at least their first dose by 3 December 2021 and be fully vaccinated by 17 January 2022.
The current bill that has been introduced into Parliament will provide for four weeks paid notice of termination where your New Zealand business is required under the COVID 19 mandate to have vaccinated employees but the employee has not met the vaccine criteria.
This generally applies to businesses where customers need to show their COVID-19 vaccination certificates before entering. Examples include hospitality and close-contact businesses.
Where a government vaccine mandate is not in place, legislation will include a risk assessment process for New Zealand employers to follow when deciding whether they can require their employees to be vaccinated.
It will include the consideration of factors such as who the employee interacts with during their working day and how close that contact is.
If an employee chooses not to get vaccinated the “good faith” aspects of New Zealand employment law will still apply. That means the employer will need to consider all reasonable alternatives such as finding other work within the business that does not require vaccination.
In summary, vaccination will be required for all employees at businesses where customers need to show COVID-19 vaccination certificates. Examples include hospitality and close-contact businesses.
New legislation will introduce a clear and simplified risk assessment process for New Zealand employers to determine whether they can require employees to be vaccinated.
Non-vaccinated workers and roles requiring vaccination will be given a four week (paid) notice period to get vaccinated before the employment can be terminated.
Employers will be required to provide paid time off to workers to enable them to get vaccinated and they will need to keep records about the vaccination status.
The information in this article is indicative of NZ tax rules and changes and not intended to be complete for all intents or purposes and does not constitute advice. It is recommended that you obtain professional advice, suited to your particular circumstances, from us before acting on anything you read.