The New Zealand government has released guidelines to help employers and employers understand their rights and obligations when it comes to vaccinations in the workplace.

To be clear there is no expectation for an employee to be vaccinated and they are not required to inform their employer of their vaccination status. However this may mean that an employer will assume that such an employee has not been vaccinated.

Although an employee cannot be fired for not being vaccinated they have duties removed from them if an employer deems any part of their role can only be carried out by a vaccinated person. An employer cannot request a non-vaccinated individual to be vaccinated.

For further information click on the following link.

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If New Zealand were to face another lockdown, it’s important for workers and employers to understand their rights and obligations when it comes to leave.

Employers should encourage workers to work from home, an alternative location or to carry other activities within reason where it is possible.

Where the above options are not available then an employer and their employee should agree in good faith what paid or unpaid leave needs to be taken by referring to their employment agreement.

An employer cannot make an employee take annual leave because of changes to the alert levels in the country or in their particular region. An employer can however make an employee take annual leave with 14 days notice if they cannot reach an agreement.

Likewise employers are not able to force employees to use any of their sick leave because alert level changes prevent them from coming into the workplace. Sick leave can only be requested by an employee.

For businesses that are struggling to find alternative duties for staff who cannot come into the workplace a Short-term Absence Payment scheme has been set up.

More details are available here:

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(CWC) is a new worker support initiative set up by Pamela Grealey and Benjamin Rudolph. The aim of this new initiative is to provide workplace advocacy for all workers across the Coromandel Peninsula, from Whangamata to north Colville. We recognised a need for worker representation on the Coromandel Peninsula as there is a significant number of low-waged, part-time/ flexible and people deemed contractors by their employers working in conditions that can for the most part be considered inequitable. These inequitable working conditions are not always deliberate and with this in mind we are also looking to work with small and large business owners to ensure that they are meeting all of their obligations as employers.

On the first Friday of each month the CWC holds a clinic to provide support and information sessions to workers with questions about their employment conditions and contract terms. These clinics have highlighted a sad truth, that not all workers are aware of their rights or pay entitlements. Our clinics are also joined by a worker advocate from One Union, who we are affiliated to. This enables us to offer workers across the peninsula a representative in their workplace without having to pay union fees or dues. No appointment is necessary if you would like to come and speak with us on one of our clinic days. If you wish to get in touch with us before our clinic, please send us a message through our Facebook page or the contact page of our website

With talk of a recession looming, we believe that there will be even more need to advocate for workers, many of whom have to work multiple part-time jobs just to survive. Many businesses will begin to face challenges that place even more uncertainty on those jobs where the worker will ultimately be left feeling desperate and fortunate just to have a job, that they will put themselves in a position where they are are willing to forgo a basic expectation of being treated fairly in the workplace. Employers, as I have already mentioned, do not always intend to create an unfair workplace. Sadly though this doesn’t always prevent it from happening. With this in mind we are also keen to reach out to employers to complete a high level overview of their workplace environment and practises to see what, if any, changes need to happen.

#CWC #equity #support #workers #advocacy

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