31 Aug 2021
A lot has happened since we went into Alert Level 4 lockdown. As of 11.59pm Tuesday 31 August, everywhere south of Auckland will move to Alert Level 3, and Northland will follow at 11.59pm Thursday 2 September. Auckland will stay in Alert Level 4. What will the differing Alert Levels mean for engineers?
Working at Alert Level 3
At Alert Level 3, businesses are to work remotely where possible, and are encouraged to use technology to carry out their work as much as they can.
Where remote working isn’t possible, on-site work is permitted – provided appropriate health and safety and physical distancing measures are in place for both workers and (where relevant) building occupants. Legally, all services and transactions must have no person-to-person contact.
Building and construction businesses can buy products and materials from building and construction retailers and suppliers under Alert Level 3, and these businesses will have health and safety and physical distancing measures in place.
Here’s an overview of what you need to know doing business at Alert Level 3.
- Information for working safely from Worksafe
- Building and construction at different alert levels
- CHASNZ Covid-19 construction protocols
- Read our article ‘Requirements at each Alert Level’
Business Travel Register for permitted travel
Travel between regions will be heavily restricted at Alert Level 3 – and travel documents previously issued for travel cannot be used.
MBIE has opened the Business Travel application system for issuing Business Travel Documents for workers undertaking permitted activities only. You can make an application at its business.govt.nz website.
It’s important that only businesses that meet the criteria for travel apply. This is so MBIE can efficiently process documents for businesses that need them.
Building and construction businesses can buy products and materials from building and construction retailers and suppliers under Level 3. These outlets will have health and safety and physical distancing measures in place.
With Auckland remaining in Alert Level 4 for at least a further two weeks, the rest of country should be wary that there will likely be supply chain issues due to these restrictions.
Covid-19 Building and Construction Industry Toolbox Talk and Advisory
NZ Construction Industry Council (NZCIC) is reintroducing the Covid-19 industry updates the Toolbox Talk series – originally introduced during the first nationwide lockdown in 2020.
Vaccinations for all open on Wednesday 1 September
As of Wednesday 1 September, everyone over the age of 12 is eligible to book for a Covid-19 vaccination.
The Construction Sector Accord is working with industry leaders, other MBIE officials and Ministry of Health to assess whether vaccinations for essential workers in construction might be prioritised, for example those doing maintenance work for health and safety reasons under Alert Level 4.
The Accord will also support work on developing drive-through vaccination for construction sector workers.
Considerations for employers
We encourage all employers to have a vaccination plan and encourage their employees to get vaccinated. Employers cannot require employees to get a vaccination, but there may be circumstances in which non-vaccinated people cannot enter some work sites.
There have been reports of employers reducing staff salaries given the anticipated loss of earnings during lockdown. While it may seem reasonable, it is unlawful, unless agreed to by the employee.
We recommend you to get legal advice if you are considering salary reductions or any other changes to your employees' pay or contract terms as a result of the lockdown.
Still in Alert Level 4?
Employers in Auckland and Northland still in Alert Level 4 are encouraged to ask their staff if anyone in their household has tested positive for Covid-19 or attended a location of interest.
If a household member has tested positive or been at a location of interest, the employee must stay at home until the person in the household has received a negative test result.
This is a particularly difficult time for our Auckland engineers, who are doing the heavy lifting to contain this Delta outbreak.