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Reply To: Hi therei have an employee who is refusing to work until the 12 weeks has passed from the wage subsidy. He is saying it is “because we have been paid for him” so questioning why he would need to work. It is obvious to me why but what would your response be in this situation?

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Hello – the answer is that it is all normal employment laws continue to apply during the wage subsidy period. This includes the normal duty of the employee to work if the employer has work available. Requiring the employee to work is therefore a lawful and reasonable instruction. The only exception is if the person has good reason to refuse, for example, the employee is in a vulnerable category and not able to work as they fall within the MOH definition or the employer cannot meet the safe operating requirements in place at the time (currently level 3).

Check out the below weblinks which address the fact that normal employment laws continue to apply to during the subsidy period.

https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/

and

https://covid19.govt.nz/businesses-and-employees/businesses-and-services/doing-business-at-alert-level-3/#how-to-do-business-safely

and

https://covid19.govt.nz/businesses-and-employees/businesses-and-services/employers-and-employees-working-together/

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