Traffic Light Update - Sector Guidelines Out

Traffic Light Update 26 November – Sector Guidelines out

Breaking NewsSector Guidance issued last night – read what it means for you come Friday next week.


A quick update on other latest developments:



Vaccination Passes – what are they and how are obtained

Vaccination Verification – how do you check you comply

Risk Assessment Tool



- Traffic Lights live11:59pm Thursday 2nd December;

- No further news on which areas will have which light;

- For those working for businesses requiring vaccinations – first vaccinations are required by Friday 3rd December and second vaccines by 17th January.  If an employee does not comply they must be stood down (termination can only come after the right process and notice).



This has been passed and assented to yesterday. A copy of the Act is available here:

Critical here includes:

  • it imposes a minimum 4-week paid notice period for anyone losing their job because they are not vaccinated (longer if their employment agreement provides for more). This is in force from yesterday.  During that four week period, should the employee change their mind and get their first vaccine, the dismissal must be withdrawn (unless it unreasonably disrupts the business); and
  • it empowers the Minister to amend orders and impose the “traffic light system” and
  • it provides for responsibilities for PCBUs to maintain information on affected workers where vaccinations are required and
  • it authorises and requires PCBUs to obtain information about persons’ vaccination status in certain situations and imposes a fine of up to $12,000 for an individual or $15,000 for a company for breaches of the requirement to collect. An individual could also face a prison sentence of up to 6 months!


Sector Guidance

This has now been issued refer

Every business should check this out and read what applies to them.  The vast majority of you will find you are in manufacturing, retail or services (including construction and mechanical servicing) and that traffic lights do not really impact you – as in you have the same restrictions whether requiring vaccinations or not.  However, you may find implications for how you relate to other organisations.

Flexibility and variations apply to all businesses – you should consider carefully if your business actually has parts that are covered by different guidelines and you must comply separately – you may need to apply vaccination certificates for just one part.  You may also move from requiring vaccinations to not and then back again later – this may facilitate a specific event – but you must clean the place fully in between.

Close Contact businesses – I want to point out that the Sector Guidelines originally put up last night, differed from the Framework document.  We contacted Business NZ for clarification and the guidelines have now been updated.  The framework and guidelines now confirm you are allowed to operate under Green, even if not embracing vaccinations.

Hospitality – referred to as Food and Drink services have clarified that a take-away kiosk still is classed as a café – not as retail.  And while an accommodation provider may still open for accommodation – their food and drink services must still comply with the Food and Drink guidelines.


Vaccination Passes

This will be needed in order to access certain services or to work in businesses requiring vaccinations. There are several ways that these can be obtained:

  1. Via the My Covid Record Website apply for a digital version to store on your device.
    More instructions can be found at
  2. You can call 0800 222 478 to request a physical copy. You will need to have your NHI number ready. You can find this information on a hospital letter, prescription or other medical document.
  3. Participating pharmacies (for example, where you had your last jab) may also be able to print off your certificate. It is advised to call ahead to ensure they can help you and to take your NHI number with you. This could be asked for after receiving your second vaccine.

Vaccination passes are the same for both those who are fully vaccinated and those who are exempt from getting the vaccine. There will be no distinction between the two.


Vaccination verification 

Businesses operating requiring vaccine passes are required to check each person entering their site has a Vaccination Pass.  They are strongly advised to verify these passes.  To do so they will need to download the NZ Pass Verifier App onto a suitable device.

This device will need to be:

  • One that operates on iOS 11 or later (Apple) or Android 6.0 or later (Android)

  • The device will need a camera, as this is how the passes are scanned

  • The ability to ensure that the device will be connected to the internet at least every 14 days in order to verify all valid Vaccine Passes.

To download the app or for more information go to


Risk Assessment Tools

If you believe you need to restrict your business to those who are vaccinated, but this is not required by the traffic lights, you will have to address this through a Health and Safety process.  That means identifying a risk, which you get expertly assessed, and then consult over imposing the required controls.  (Essentially if a risk assessment concludes that Covid is a high risk and that vaccination is a necessary control, then you will need to seriously consider requiring vaccinations). 

The government are introducing guidance, which is expected to be along the following lines:

Current information indicates there will be four primary questions for an employer to consider, to assess the risk of infection and transmission in their workplace, at least three of which must be met before a business can require vaccination:

  • Workers are in an area with less than 100m2 indoor space
  • Workers work less than 1m apart from other people
  • Workers are routinely near others for more than 15 minutes
  • Workers provide services to people vulnerable to Covid-19

Note that each individual role needs to be assessed against these factors – a blanket approach should not be taken.

Looking at this will give you an idea of whether or not your situation may warrant a vaccination control.  I strongly advise that if you go this route, you use a H&S expert to do the analysis – or you would be open to a PG should you force someone to get vaccinated or lose their job.


For more detailed information on the consultation process and for some FAQs, please refer to our update, sent out on Friday 19th October.


Please contact us for help in ensuring your process and the documentation you use are fair.

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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