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Managing Coronavirus in the Workplace...

While there have currently been no cases of Coronavirus in New Zealand to date, it has been established that the risk of a case occurring in New Zealand is relatively high. This has been a concern for a lot of people and has made quite a few questions pop up.

As employers, here's what you need to know:

Symptoms of the virus are similar to other illnesses like influenza such as fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Showing these signs doesn't necessarily mean you have the virus, but it would be a good idea for those showing these symptoms to get checked out by their doctor or call the dedicated Healthline for advice and information. Especially if there has recently been physical contact with someone who has, or if you have, recently travelled to China or anywhere cases of the virus have been confirmed.

Coronavirus Healthline 
0800 358 5453

To reduce the risk of catching or passing the infection onto others and to protect those in your workplace, the Ministry of Health recommends that everyone should be extra vigilant in following basic principles of hygiene and cough etiquette, including:

  • Regularly washing your hands,
  • Covering your mouth and nose when sneezing,
  • Staying at home if you are sick,
  • Avoiding close contact (less than 1m) with those who are sick and have cold/flu-like symptoms.

Self-isolation is also recommended if you have travelled in or transitioned through China since 2 February. For more information on self-isolation, follow this link:


Consider any staff that are currently on leave and those heading away in the coming weeks to high-risk countries. Having a conversation about their return would be a 'reasonably practicable' step where you can discuss where they intend on going and what may need to occur upon their return. 

If an employee requests time off or special leave because of the Coronavirus, its important that you take their request seriously to protect your other employees and your customers.

  • Sick leave may be requested for a doctor visit or for illness should be treated the same as any other sickness.
  • An employee can't be directed to take sick leave by an employer if they are requiring an employee to take an absence of leave for self-isolation.
  • Employees who wish to self-isolate because of recent travel or who are recommended to do so by a health care professional should be allowed to take this leave unpaid, or if they have it available, then they may request to use their annual leave entitlements.   

We all want to keep our staff and customers safe, so it's important to take extra care when it comes to potential health risks like Coronavirus.

If you have a question regarding the Coronavirus, then we strongly recommend making use of the Coronavirus Healthline on 0800 358 5453.

If you have an employment question that comes up when navigating staff and Coronavirus then feel free to give us a call, we would be more than happy to offer support and advice.

0800 HR LIVE 


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