On this page

Have a question?

Have a question that hasn't been answered? Fill in the form below and one of our experts will contact you back.

NZ Government Lifts Last COVID Restrictions 

Published August 17, 2023 - Face2Face Field Service Manager

The New Zealand Government announced the lifting of the last COVID-19 restrictions as of the midnight on the 14 August.  

This means rules previously mandated by law have now been scrapped, including isolation periods and wearing a mask when visiting a healthcare or aged care facility. 

While the announcement might not be front page news, it feels like a landmark decision and a milestone moment for Kiwis.  

Let’s take a closer look at the reasons for dropping the restrictions and what the changes mean for business owners.  

Why have COVID-19 restrictions been lifted?  

One of the main reasons for the government’s decision to lift the last restrictions is a steady reduction in the pressure being placed on New Zealand’s healthcare system. 

During the announcement, Prime Minister Chris Hipkins and Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall pointed out that “while our case numbers will continue to fluctuate, we have not seen the dramatic peaks that characterised COVID-19 rates last year.”  

Verrall also cited the substantial number of Kiwis who are fully vaccinated and the population’s strong immunity levels as good reasons for the Cabinet to feel confident about its decision.  

What does this mean for business owners? 

Countless employers and employees will be relieved by the announcement, glad to finally revert to ‘business as usual’ policies and procedures.  

However, it’s important to acknowledge that business owners should still be vigilant in their attempts to stop the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses. 

Interviewed on Radio New Zealand National, Dr Bryan Betty, the Chair of General Practice, shared his belief that workers with the flu or colds should still stay at home — ideally with the full backing of employers. 

Betty claims that “If an employee thinks they’ve got a cold or a flu, they should be given the space to stay at home or work from home so as not to spread it around the workplace.” 

Is COVID-19 still a threat to Kiwi businesses? 

According to the Workplace Wellness Report, the average Kiwi employee takes 4.2 days of sick leave each year. Believe it or not, it’s estimated the cost to businesses and the national economy tops $1.8 billion annually.  

Beyond the negative impact that infectious diseases have on a business’s bottom line, COVID’s mantra of protecting vulnerable people remains relevant. Hopefully, it will be one of a few things about the pandemic that we never forget.  

Viral illness can spread through a company and affect some employees more than others, “In particular vulnerable workmates – those who are older, or maybe have comorbidity [two diseases as once]” Betty says. 

Employers need to continue with a mindset of trust when it comes to staff being absent through illness. Even with the last of New Zealand’s restrictions now dropped, businesses should avoid reverting to any unnecessary barriers between sick staff and time away from work.  

Betty believes “Employers should be in a space to say, ‘Look, if you have this, we’re in a high-trust environment. We trust you enough not to need a doctor’s certificate for the next three or four days’”.  

What should businesses do next? 

Ensuring health and safety in the workplace has always been critically important. COVID-19 simply placed a huge amount of emphasis on this fact.  

Kiwi companies were forced to act quickly and decisively to keep their workers safe. In doing so, they’ve adopted new health and safety policies, uprooted some outdated assumptions and improved workplace procedures that were lacking. 

In any situation – a pandemic or otherwise – the returns from investing in occupational safety are enormous. Employees perform better, operations run smoothly, and profits will often increase.   

If you’re a business owner and you’ve already invested in employee wellbeing and health &s safety, it makes good business sense to maintain those systems and continue to reap the benefits. 

If you own a business and have issues surrounding employee health & safety, call our FREE Advice Line on 0800 365 514 to speak with an Employsure expert. 

Have a question?

Have a question that hasn't been answered? Fill in the form below and one of our experts will contact you back.

  • By submitting contact details, I acknowledge that I have read and agree to the Terms of Use and the Privacy Policy and I consent to you contacting me about Employsure services. I consent to you using sensitive personal information that you may collect for the purposes of providing your products and services.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Call Now

0800 568 012

Live Chat

Click here