Guidance for workplaces with staff impacted by COVID-19

Information on the processes to follow if an employee, customer or visitor becomes a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case or an employee is identified as a household contact of a person with COVID-19.

Last updated: 20 June 2022

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If the case is an employee

If an employee becomes a confirmed (or probable) COVID-19 case and has been at your workplace while infectious, there are standard processes that will be followed.

You will be told by your employee directly and then you should:

Remember, always protect the privacy of your employee. Their name must not be shared.

At any time, an employee who feels unwell with symptoms of COVID-19, no matter how mild, should be encouraged to get a test, and stay at home until they receive a negative test result.

They can seek help by calling their GP (doctor) or they can call Healthline, for free, on 0800 358 5453.

Contact tracing for workplaces

In this video, workplaces learn how to handle contact tracing when an employee tests positive for COVID-19.

Guidance for businesses: Step-by-step guide for managing COVID-19 in your business or workplace

Communication with employees

Follow advice provided in the step-by-step guide on how to communicate with your employees. Provision of information relating to those that may have been exposed to COVID-19 is important for controlling transmission of the virus, as outlined in the Health Act. Businesses have a legal duty to respond to requests for information for contact tracing purposes, and failure to do so is an offence. Information relating to identified cases will be held by the Public Health Unit and the Ministry of Health. Personal information will not be disclosed.

Contact information is protected under the Health Information Privacy Code and other law. Any concerns about the privacy of health information should be directed to the District Health Board privacy officer or the Office of the Privacy Commissioner. Cases and contacts can request access to their health information, and any corrections if they believe it is inaccurate or misleading.     

If the case is a customer

If a customer who is a confirmed (or probable) COVID-19 case has visited your workplace while infectious, you are unlikely to be contacted by public health.  Only very high-risk settings will involve public health input.

Communication with customers

Follow advice in the step-by-step guide to help you inform customers about the situation and what actions need to be taken.

This could include:

  • signage at the front of the store to inform customers of the confirmed case and including any instructions from health officials
  • notifying customers via media platform (newsletter, social media etc) of the confirmed case and including any instructions from health officials
  • having Ministry of Health guidance readily available for customers.

Remember, always protect the privacy of your employee. Their name must not be shared.

If an employee needs to self-isolate

If an employee informs you that they have tested positive or live with a person with COVID-19, they are required to isolate in line with Ministry of Health guidance.

Employer support

Employers can apply for financial support to help pay wages or salary and support their business if affected by COVID-19. If you’re self-employed, you can also apply for this support.

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