Covid-19 – Managing Vaccinations for those not covered under the Order Mandating vaccinations

Thursday 4th November 2021

While the requirements for businesses covered under the Vaccination Mandate are now clearer (see our update 26th Oct), those who are not covered by the mandate have many questions as to what they can and can’t do or need and don’t need to do in regard to vaccinations, their business and their staff.

While we still don’t have all the information from the Government, we are certain of one thing… businesses need to start a process if they wish to require staff (and/or customers) to be vaccinated – and you can do so now.

Here is some guidance for those who are not covered under the Mandate including for when we enter the new Covid-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light System), which could be as early as the next few weeks, given current CDHB vaccination rates.

We can help any business put in place the necessary policy and procedures, using the documentation and approach we have provided or do provide here.  This includes what to do in embracing traffic lights; in managing the implications of someone choosing not to vaccinate; in responding to customers who insist your staff are vaccinated or to ensure your own concerns about health and safety are addressed.

Businesses not covered under the Vaccination Mandates

  1. If you have concerns about the consequences of your staff not being vaccinated, you can undergo a thorough risk assessment, ideally using a Health and Safety professional, to determine the level of risk to staff and the public if vaccinations are not a requirement. The government have said they are working on a legal process you can follow to do this.

  2. If the risk IS NOT deemed significant, or if vaccination is not an essential control, you will simply need to use other controls (such as masks and distancing) – but that should be good enough and you can tell staff that. In these situations, you cannot seek information as to staff vaccination status and they are not obligated to inform you.

  3. If the risk IS deemed significant, you should start a consultation process alongside the Risk Assessment referred to in (i) above, to require that all affected staff, in a role deemed as high risk (and who are not classed as exempt), be vaccinated. This consultation is critical because those who do not comply, and where there are no other alternative lower risk roles for them, could face losing their job.

  4. This must be done through a fair and thorough change process. Current Good Faith expectations in the employment relationship still apply.

  5. A reminder that the Government are also introducing a requirement that all staff losing their job due to being unvaccinated will be entitled to at least 4 weeks notice.

  6. Here we attach a draft procedure and a draft policy document to assist you in implementing this within your business

Vaccinations within the business under the Covid-19 Protection Framework (Traffic Light System)

  1. As each DHB reaches 90% fully vaccinated, they will move into the new Covid-19 Protection Framework (it is speculated that Canterbury could reach this target before the end of November).

  2. The aim of this framework is to give businesses the opportunity to remain open in all Covid-19 situations.

  3. While the legislation has not been finalised yet, and isn’t due to be until later this month (coming into force in December), we have been given broad guidelines. (see here)

  4. Certain businesses will be able to choose whether or not they will require their clients and customers to show proof of being fully vaccinated.

  5. Those that choose to require this proof will be able to operate in some capacity in any circumstance (even red lights), however, it will also be mandatory for your staff to be fully vaccinated.

  6. This decision will need to be made via a thorough change process and staff will need to be consulted because, despite choosing this path being a fair and reasonable business decision, the effects of choosing this path will have a potential effect on staff employment.

  7. If you think that you will be making the decision to go down this path, we suggest that you start this consultation process now, outlining your plans and the implications it may have. This gives staff enough time to provide feedback and make decisions around their own vaccination status.

  8. If this path is chosen, staff who do not comply could face losing their job.

  9. A reminder that the Government are also introducing a requirement that all staff losing their job due to being unvaccinated will be entitled to at least 4 weeks notice.

  10. Here we attach a draft procedure and a draft policy document to assist you in implementing this within your business.

Extra points around the Covid-19 Protection Framework

  1. The framework guidelines state that places like public facilities, retail, workplaces, Schools and Pre-schools will remain open to all of New Zealand under each level, while still observing the appropriate health measures for each level, so businesses within these categories will not be able to make the decisions as above.

  2. At this stage, we are unsure what is included in some of the outlined industries (eg Hospitality and retail) but we expect clarification to be available when the legislation comes out, if not before.

  3. The above information is our advice as we have understood the framework to be and may be subject to change as more clear information comes to light from the Government.


If you are unsure where your business fits in or what your obligations are, please get in touch.


Mike Leave – just a heads up – Mike is away on leave from 8-12 November. While the rest of the team will still be on board to assist, if you could hold off on work until the 15th, that would be appreciated.


Essential HR are here to help.  For ongoing help call us on – 03 3650532, or you can contact Mike directly on 027 2808546 or

I’m happy for you to pass this on to others.

And if you need to conference call, we are all set up with Zoom.




Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

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