COVID-19 Update

November 12th, 2020 - Barbara Buckett

COVID-19 Update: 12 November 2020

People in Auckland have been asked to work from home whilst authorities investigate the source of the new case of coronavirus. The individual had been to various locations across the Auckland CBD – including her workplace in a customer-facing role.

It has been revealed that the individual attempted to call in sick however her manager advised her to come in anyway and ‘just wear a mask’, an instruction she duly followed.

This incident highlights two things – firstly, we are becoming too complacent. We are in a privileged position here in New Zealand however by being complacent we are running the risk of altering that position.  No one wants to end back up in lockdown.

Secondly, employers have a responsibility to protect the health and safety of their workforce and to keep their clients and customers safe.  This individual was placed in an impossible situation – trying to do the right thing by calling in sick but as a student on a casual contract, if you are instructed by your manager to come in, you may feel like you have an impossible choice – attend work or get no further shifts.

Chris Hipkins described this situation as ‘disappointing’ and appealed to employers to ‘please be good employers, if employees are doing the right thing by calling in sick please do everything you can to accommodate your employees’.

Employers need to be clear with staff what they are required to do in the event of sickness and need to be clear with management who enforce this, as it could give rise to either a disciplinary issue or personal grievance claims.

Please contact us should you need guidance or policy surrounding the matters raised in this article.

Note: BuckettLaw takes no responsibility for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of our articles. Any views expressed or comments made in an article are the writers option only. The content in our articles does not constitute legal advice. If you need legal or expert advice you should obtain specific advice about your case or matter from a professional. For legal advice based on your individual situation please contact us to speak with one of our expert lawyers.

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Barbara Buckett

Barbara Buckett is a highly experienced senior employment lawyer with over 35 years of practice in New Zealand. She provides expert advice on all areas of employment law and has a proven track record of delivering excellent results for clients. Barbara has extensive experience in resolving workplace issues and is an experienced litigator. In her free time, she enjoys reading, traveling, working out, and fine wine and dining with friends.

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