Here we go again - and here is what you need to know, including the all important link to register for travel in and out of Auckland. I can't promise the system will work any better than it did last time, but fingers crossed they learned some lessons between August and now.
Auckland is at Alert Level 3, and this means that businesses that can operate safely can continue to work, but if your staff can work from home they should. Remember this includes thorough contact tracing and contactless pickups/delivery. Good hygiene is paramount and if anyone feels unwell they should stay at home.
The rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. Best practice hygiene and ensuring unwell staff stay at home is vital here.
Please come back to me if there are any issues you need raised and we will work with you to push these.
We will keep you updated as things progress and more information comes to hand.
Register for Regional Business Travel
Businesses inside the Auckland Alert Level Boundary can now register for travel documents using an online register. This Business Travel Register allows businesses to request and receive travel documents for workers who need to cross an alert level boundary. You need a Business Connect Account - Login or signup to Business Connect
For permitted travel and special exemptions, the Register will produce a business travel document for each worker. The document can then be used at checkpoints, making passage much quicker and simpler for both workers and police.
The Register uses the New Zealand Business Number that most companies already have, but can be used without one. It will inform businesses if the type of travel they have requested is permitted, and sends automated emails to update them on the process – such as downloading travel documents.
Any information that is entered into the Register is confidential. The personal information provided in the request (limited to employee names) will only be used for the purpose of approving travel documentation requests.
Places of Interest - Taranaki and Auckland
Click here for a list of places that were visited by the Community Cases during a time when they were infectious. Please note the health requirements to the right of each venue - some of them need to isolate and delay getting tested for another 3 days - then wait for results. This means you are unlikely to see these workers this week.
As per my e-letter last week, there are two subsidies available:
Short Term Absence Payment: This new payment came into effect last week and is for workers staying home while waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test, if they are unable to work from home.
The person who has taken the COVID-19 test can be:
- a worker (including self employed)
- someone who is a dependant of a worker (eg. children or a family member with a disability)
- someone who is a household contact or secondary contact of a person who has been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case.
You will have 8 weeks from the date of the test to make your application. It provides a one-off amount of $350.00 for each eligible worker, regardless of whether they are working full time or part time.
You can only apply for it once, for each eligible worker, in any 30-day period (unless a health official or doctor tells the worker to get another test).
If the worker has an entitlement to either sick leave or annual leave, you can use this payment and then allow them to top up with a leave payment. If they don't have an entitlement to any leave you should use the subsidy to pay them their usual pay if it is less than the subsidy, or pay the subsidy amount if their usual pay is more.
You would be best to wait to make this claim until the worker returns a negative test, as if they test positive you will potentially want to make a claim under the Leave Support Scheme below - and you can only claim one or the other - not both.
Leave Support Scheme
If a worker tests positive to COVID-19 test and then has to isolate for 14 days, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to help pay their wages. This payment covers two week at $585.80 per week.
Business Support Package in the event of another lockdown: The Government has proposed a package to support businesses in the event that Alert levels escalate if there is a resurgence of Covid in the community. Having this information in advance will allow you to know what levels of funding you can expect, should this occur. Note that the Wage Subsidy/Resurgence payments require an escalation to Alert Level 2 for 7 day or more, so will not be applicable yet. Click here to read the full details.