Keeping work safe and fair during and post COVID-19

The Government is supporting fair and safe workplaces as more and more New Zealanders get back to work in Level 1.

We are investing in programmes to ensure employers and employees know their rights and obligations and at the same time we are supporting two new health and safety initiatives that will maintain the momentum to cut work-related harm, Workplace Relations and Safety says Minister Iain Lees-Galloway.

The programmes will provide:

  • Health and safety leadership by industry
  • Health and safety promotion and technical information
  • Employment Services support and contestable fund

“During Alert Levels 2, 3 and 4, we saw countless examples of businesses, workers and industry organisations stepping up and taking their health and safety responsibilities seriously. This has been critical in slowing the spread of COVID-19.

“We need to continue to be vigilant. To support ongoing efforts, we are investing in industry-led health and safety leadership groups; a WorkSafe campaign promoting safely getting back to work and providing technical health and safety advice to support businesses.”

Iain Lees-Galloway says health and safety at work continues to be essential during the recovery and rebuild of New Zealand’s economy.

“COVID-19 has affected many workers and workplaces, and as a result the Employment NZ 0800 line has seen a 49 percent increase in the number of calls from the same time last year. We expect this demand will continue and are investing additional resources to support everyone that calls the line with queries.

“We are also establishing a $3 million contestable fund for business organisations, unions and community providers to access funding for initiatives that support workers and workplaces to manage employment impacts and position themselves for recovery following COVID-19.”

Editors note

These initiatives are funded from the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund.

Workplace relations

Employment services $7.35m

  • Facilitate early resolution of employment issues arising from COVID-19 $4.2m
  • Contestable fund $3m
  • Admin of fund $0.15m

Workplace health and Safety

Health and safety leadership groups fund $3.7m

  • Industry leadership groups have played a critical role in reducing deaths and injuries in high-risk sectors.
  • They have also been instrumental in developing tailored guidance for how their industry can work safely under COVID-19 public health rules.

Technical health and safety advice re COVID-19 $1.6m

  • WorkSafe and industry bodies are working together to provide guidance to help workplaces follow the rules and minimise the risk of COVID-19 spreading.
  • New funding supports a four-to-six week campaign.
  • And to provide specialist advice on respiratory risk.