COVID-19: Public Service and State Sectors

Information for members working for public service departments and crown entities during COVID-19

For PSA-wide updates, please refer to the previous page: 
Return to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

 

 See the table below for all Public Service and State Sector newsletters.

Date Sent          Subject Line
 29 April PSA statement on State Services Commission bargaining recommendations 
 26 March COVID-19 and Public Service Redeployment
 18 March Member Update: Coronavirus

Click here to see all full-membership newsletters.

The redeployment measures are part of the emergency response and will be in place while Aotearoa is in level 4 during the current pandemic.  It is important that your union is aware of any issues that arise due to any redeployment so that you receive ongoing union representation and support to deal with these issues. PSA delegates will be advised of any plans for redeployment and it is important that PSA organisers are part of that communication. During the Level 4 alert period the PSA will be in communication with the SSC and your agency leadership to deal with issues and concerns as they arise. When the alert level reduces, the union will be in communication with the SSC to discuss the revised alert circumstances.

PSA organisers and reps are here to support you during these extraordinary times.

The crucial points to know about redeployment are:

  • Your personal situation matters and will be taken into account.  There should be agreement reached on whether any changes to your location or hours can work in terms of your personal situation.  Many people will be ready and able to be redeployed.  But some will have underlying health issues, have those in the home who are elderly, for disability reasons not be able to be retrained or use certain equipment, and so on. There are a variety of personal  situations that might exist and we expect decision-makers to be sensible and sensitive to people’s respective needs at this time.  
  • When redeployed, your terms and conditions of employment will not be reduced.  You will not lose pay and conditions due to assisting with different work in this pandemic.
  • The host employer, and your normal employer have a joint responsibility to you for your health and safety.
  • Your union will be involved in assisting you to navigate through this unprecedented time.

We are currently looking into the requirements for workers who need to travel during the lockdown period.  So far it is not confirmed that essential workers need a letter from their employer to travel to work, but we are watching closely and will be in touch as soon as we have more information.

Please keep an eye on the SSC page for up-to-date advice on redeployment

See here: https://ssc.govt.nz/resources/guidance-for-state-services-agencies-on-workforce-mobility/

For members working for public service departments and crown entities, we have agreed the approach set out in the table below with the State Services Commission, who are providing guidance on this to your employer.

The table below summarises the minimum leave provisions that permanent and temporary employees working in the State Services, can expect.

Situation Paid sick leave Paid domestic leave Annual leave  Special Leave Other options that may apply
You are self isolating for 14 days, as agreed with your employer, because you may have been exposed to Covid-19        Yes If you can work from home then you would be on normal pay. 
You are self isolating for 14 days, as agreed with your employer, because you have returned from an overseas work trip        Yes If you can work from home then you would be on normal pay. 
You are self isolating for 14 days because you departed before 15 March for overseas for private travel        Yes If you can work from home then you would be on normal pay. 
You are self isolating for 14 days because you departed after 15 March for overseas for private travel      Yes   If you can work from home then you would be on normal pay. Please discuss with your manager which leave applies may depend on the purpose of your private travel.
You are ill Yes     Yes*  
You are caring for a dependent who is self isolating   Yes   Yes** If you can work from home in this situation - wholly or partially - then you could talk to your employer about having part of this time on normal pay and part as sick leave.
You are caring for a dependent whose usual care is not available because of the pandemic   Yes   Yes** If you can work from home in this situation – wholly or partially – then you could talk to your employer about having part of this time on normal pay and part as domestic leave.
You are caring for a dependent who is ill   Yes   Yes** If you can work from home in this situation – wholly or partially – then you could talk to your employer about having part of this time on normal pay and part as sick leave.

* In the event that you are sick, you will be paid from your sick leave balance. In the case that your sick leave balance is exhausted and you are still sick, you will be entitled to discretionary (Special) leave. 
** Provisions of Collective Agreements may vary. Regardless, lave should be with pay. If you have any questions or concerns, call 0508 367 772 

If you are ill, please stay home. This is important so that your colleagues stay healthy but also for public health - so that the virus does not spread. If you have the symptoms of Covid-19, please call the special Healthline 0800 358 5453 or your doctor immediately. The Ministry of Health website has the best and most reliable information about what is happening with Covid-19. 

ACC
  • If you are diagnosed with COVID-19
    • You should follow the health advice you are given, self-isolate, and notify your manager who will notify HR Help
    • Sick leave will apply. If you don’t have enough sick leave, you manager may approve anticipated sick leave or additional discretionary leave (i.e. continue to be paid). Again, before making a decision, managers must speak with HR Help. This will help us keep track of the situation and ensure people get the right support.
  • If you wish to self-isolate when public health advice does not require 
    • You should discuss your concerns with your manager in the first instance. They will take a health and safety risk-based approach to understand and investigate your concerns. 
    • Before making a decision in these scenarios, managers must speak with HR Help. This will help us keep track of the situation and ensure people get the right support. 
  • If you need time away because you are sick with COVID-19 or caring for sick dependents and have exhausted your sick leave
    • Managers may approve anticipated sick leave or additional discretionary leave (i.e. continue to be paid). Again, before making a decision, managers must speak with HR Help. This will help us keep track of the situation and ensure people get the right support. 
    • Managers are encouraged to contact HR Help with any additional questions about supporting employees with COVID-19 related concerns.
  • New business travel arrangements
    • We’ve decided to implement some rules to help keep people safe and reduce unnecessary risk. As a result, all:
      • overseas business travel is cancelled until further notice
      • domestic business travel bookings must be authorised by a Tier 3 leader (that is, your Head of Function). This authorisation must be received before you start making any travel arrangements. If you have domestic travel booked and are unsure about proceeding, talk with your Head of Function.
DOC
IAG
  • No external guests to visit IAG buildings until further notice
  • Limit of 5  people in any face to face meeting
  • No moving between floors
  • Flexispace has been ceased  
LINZ
MBIE
  • Suspension of non-essential international business travel
    • MBIE's senior leadership team have made the decision to suspend all non-essential international travel as a precautionary measure. DCEs will review each international travel request on a case-by-case basis until further notice, and have set a high bar on what will be considered essential travel.
  • Restrictions on powhiri from Te Ati Awa Taranaki Whanui
    • Te Ati Awa Taranaki Whanui has made a decision to invoke restrictions on hongi and hariru (shaking hands) at powhiri for the foreseeable future, until the Coronavirus has been brought under control, placing this restriction in their powhiri process for the health and wellbeing of others.
  • Scenarios to guide managers on responding to COVID-19 related situations
  • Leave and pay
    • If you need to take leave because of COVID-19, you should discuss your situation with your people leader. They will work with People and Culture to come up with options for you.
    • If you need to self-isolate or your office is closed because of COVID-19 and you can work from home, you will not have to take leave. You will be paid your standard base pay each fortnight. If any additional transactions are not initially processed, such as over time, they will be caught up at a later date and back paid. 
    • If you are unable to work from home, you will receive special leave with pay. 
    • If you need to care for a sick dependant, you can use paid sick leave, anticipated sick leave or special leave with pay.
    •  If you choose to self-isolate to be with a family member who does not ordinarily live with you, you can use annual or sick leave. 
MOJ
  • MOJ COVID-19 FactSheet
  • Will I get paid if I have to self-isolate? 
    • Any Ministry people who need to self-isolate will be paid. For people in self-isolation with no symptoms, we may ask you to work from home if the nature of your role means this is possible.
  • Jet.Justice How do I prepare for COVID-19
MPI
  • Limiting domestic air travel to essential travel only.
    • This means we will limit domestic air travel to the delivery of essential services only. Any travel for training, staff meetings, etc. will need to be postponed or alternatives such as video or telephone conferencing used. To support this, all domestic air travel must now be approved at Deputy Director-General or Regional Commissioner level.
  • Limiting meetings and conferences. 
    • The Government has introduced measures that limit public gatherings. I am asking that we apply an essential services test to our internal and external gatherings to further limit the potential for the spread of COVID-19. Meetings of larger groups of staff, partners, and the sector that are not essential will need to be postponed or delivered in a way that reduces the risk of spread such as via technology. I have asked all Deputy Directors-General to work with their directors, managers and staff to make this move.
  • Increasing working from home.
    • We already have the infrastructure and policies that enable flexibility of work, including technology to work from home and the ability to meet via telephone and video conferencing. Over the coming days, directors and managers will be working with you to plan and organise which staff should work remotely from home and when this will be introduced. I expect that by the end of the week, each business unit will have moved to a more flexible set of arrangements that maintain essential services. I expect that increasingly more of you will regularly be working from home. 
  • Increasing support for you.
    • Some staff are, or will be, caught up in self-isolation or may be required to care for others. Now is certainly a time when you should not come to work if you are unwell. MPI will be supportive if you can’t come to work. If you can work from home, then we’ll facilitate this. If not, then we will ensure that you are covered by sick leave, domestic leave or special leave. In some cases we may use your skills in other areas of the Ministry to maintain essential services.
  • Please keep an eye on our FAQ resource, maintain contact with your manager for guidance and if you have any questions that cannot be answered then send them to Covid-19.HR@mpi.govt.nz
MSD
  • Clients who are unwell
    • We’ve provided signs for the doors asking clients not to come into our service centres if they’re unwell and we’re emailing or writing to all clients this week to reinforce this. If they have an appointment and they’re unwell they’ll be asked to phone us.
Oranga Tamariki
  • We have a COVID-19 Interim Travel Policy in place of the Ministry’s standard travel policy until further notice. 
Stats NZ
  • International travel
    • On recommendation from SSC, we are cancelling all staff travel plans for March through end of May. A decision for travel in June will be made in April. Future travel requests for July onwards will be considered in mid-May.

People working for labour hire companies and others working for organisations outside of the formal State services

We expect that your employer will provide you with paid leave consistent with the table under Leave Provisions and PSA organisers are engaging with your employer to negotiate this.  Your contractual leave entitlements will apply.  If your leave entitlements are exhausted and your employer does not provide you with additional paid leave as set out in the table above, support through the Government’s Covid leave scheme may be available.  Your employer can apply through MSD for support to pay full time (over 20 hrs) workers $585.80 and part time (less than 20 hrs) workers $350 per week for up to 12 weeks.

We have also been provided with updates from selected enterprises. See below for enterprise-specific updates.