End of Traffic Light System and a Public Holiday Announcement

Tuesday 13th September 2022

In this update:

- End of Traffic Light System

- Managing absence

- Public Holiday - Monday 26th September 2022


Relaxing Covid Rules

I know we kinda expected this, but it is really good to confirm that from midnight last night we scrapped the traffic light system – almost all systems go back to pre-covid status:

  • Masks - We’ll be able to recognise faces again! Although businesses can still choose to require masks, masks will now only be required in health care environments (GPs; hospitals; pharmacies and aged care homes)
  • Isolation requirements – from now only those testing positive for Covid will be required to isolate (for 7 days). Household contacts will only need to do RAT tests each day – they do not need to isolate until they test positive.
  • Leave support scheme – From today this is only available for those testing positive and unable to work from home. If you have an employee who commenced isolation as a household contact before midnight on Friday 9 September, you will still be able to be claim the support payment.
  • Government vaccination mandates will cease on September 26
  • Vaccinations - Individual employers can still elect to require vaccinations, but there will be no legal requirement to do so
  • Jobs lost because of vaccination requirements – there is no requirement to re-employ but you may consider this

Actions you may need to take:

Business situation

What do you need to consider

You have been requiring masks because of the traffic light system

Unless you want to keep the requirement, all you need do is remove any signs/instructions.

However, you can choose to require them but, although legally you can just do so, I recommend you consult staff over such a decision.

You have been operating under government mandates (Public Health Order)

Consider if your business needs to retain any vaccination requirement post September 26.


·         If so, identify the right process to keep it in place.  Amend your processes to suit.  Because vaccinations are invasive and information around them is private health information, you will need to have good reason supported by fair process, to avoid possible PGs


·         If you do not need to retain such requirements, then ensure your process documents remove such references

If you require vaccinations for H&S reasons

Given the overall change of circumstances you should now urgently review whether or not you still need this control

If you have a clause in your IEA requiring vaccination

Based on the above two paragraphs you may need to put out a variation no longer requiring vaccinations


If you had made a rule requiring that others coming onto site show vaccine passes (e.g. construction etc)

Can review rule and, if you are happy to follow the government lead, notify affected clients that the rule is no longer in place.


If you have staff wanting time off because of Covid

Make sure that at least your managers all know that from now only those testing positive need to stay home – anyone else who tries to stay off as a household contact, should be informed this is not sick leave and that the government no longer have a support payment for it.


If you wish to keep household contacts away from the workplace

This will now be your decision – and you will have an obligation to pay them.


If you are health sector and still required to mask-up etc

You may need to increase the visibility of your mask requirements – the public will have an attitude that masks are no longer needed!



If you are planning on still requiring staff to be vaccinated or still wish to require vaccination passes, please keep in mind the potential privacy implication around personal medical information.

https://covid19.govt.nz/ will have more information.

We are here to help you navigate these changes, including preparing any paperwork you may need so please get in touch.                                                

For more information on financial support available, please got to https://covid19.govt.nz/isolation-and-care/financial-support/


Managing Covid-related time off work

You may feel that you have staff with excessive amounts of time off work.  Whether this is Covid-related or otherwise, the process for managing excessive absenteeism is the same, and I recommend you contact us to discuss the approach you use.  It is an area where you have to be able to respect health privacy while still addressing the need to have people at work.


Public Holiday – Monday 26th September 2022

Yes, it is a Public Holiday and will need to be treated as for any other Public Holiday – you can still agree with an employee to celebrate it on a different day, but cannot contract out of the day.

And to confirm – it is only for this year!


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


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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