Dear E tū members,
As you all know, COVID-19 (coronavirus) is a serious developing situation in New Zealand and across the whole world. We know many of our members are facing uncertainty, especially in their jobs.
Your union is acting quickly to support you with the best information and advocacy possible.
E tū’s position
E tū is advocating for the health and safety of our members, and for our members to keep their incomes and leave entitlements if they need to self-isolate, have time to care for dependents, or are sick themselves with COVID-19.
This means that you shouldn’t have to go to work if you are sick or if you are in danger of transmitting or catching COVID-19.
This also means you should get paid when you need to be away from work because of COVID-19, including when you are in self-isolation as directed by the Government or health officials.
Our first call is for employers to use their own resources to make this possible. We also recognise that the pandemic is huge, and that there is a strong role for Government to invest in our wellbeing and in our futures.
Now it the time to talk with your fellow union members at work about how you will respond to the pandemic at your workplace. Our voices will need to be heard at all levels of decision-making.
The Government package
The Government has released the first step in their emergency package to help workers and the economy through the pandemic. It is only a first step, but we welcome the support for all working people, whether they are employees, contractors, or casual workers.
What this means specifically for your job and industry will become clearer in the coming days and weeks. Click here to read our statement about the announcement today.
E tū will update you in the coming days. Remember you can call E tū Support on 0800 1 UNION (0800 186 466).
General guidance from MBIE
- If an employer requires an employee not to come to a workplace, workers should be paid. Paid sick leave (and anticipated sick leave) may be used if the person is sick or needs to care for a sick dependent. If paid sick leave is not available, special paid leave should be considered. Other forms of paid leave can be used by agreement between the employer and the employee.
- If an employee, who has been advised to self-isolate under Ministry of Health guidelines for COVID-19, can’t practicably work from home, then special paid leave should be considered. Other forms of paid leave can be considered (such as paid sick leave) and used by agreement between the employer and the employee.
- Your employer has a responsibility to manage the health risks to workers and other people affected in the workplace and treat employees in good faith. They should plan ahead and work with workers and unions for likely scenarios of COVID-19.
- If workers are sick with COVID-19 or have been advised to self-isolate under Ministry of Health guidelines for COVID-19, your employer must act in a way to contain COVID-19 and protect public health.
- Workers cannot be allowed or required to come to workplace when they are sick with COVID-19 or if they have been advised to self-isolate under public health guidelines for COVID-19. If employers allow this, they are likely to be in breach of their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
- Employers might explore whether working from home is practicable during the self-isolation period. In that case, workers should be paid normally.
- Contractor pay and leave is not covered by this guidance. Employers and contractors can agree to any payment arrangements they wish to.