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Work rights still hold under COVID-19 alert levels

The Council of Trades Unions is today reminding everybody that COVID-19 level changes do not suspend employment laws or duties of good faith. CTU President Richard Wagstaff said that we have been through level changes before, and everyone should understand the same rules apply.

“As we’ve seen from previous lockdowns, there can be a knee-jerk tendency from a few employers to feel that normal obligations to pay staff, consult on health and safety and act in good faith are somehow suspended. We should all know by now that this is not the case. In fact, there can be stringent consequences further down the line for any breaches of employment law.” 

“Remaining level-headed and treating staff both legally and kindly will pay off in the long run, for business reputations and the wellbeing of our communities. Everyone is adjusting to news of the latest public health measures, employers and working people alike. Businesses must consult staff on their COVID-19 plans including around health and safety. The best way to get through alert level changes with minimum disruption, now and in the future, is acting carefully and in good faith. “

“Working people are reminded to check in with their union in the first instance if presented with any change of business plans or if they are experiencing concerns over health and safety or work rights. There is no obligation to sign variations to normal employment agreements in response to alert level changes. Advice to working people from previous lockdowns still stands and is available online here: