News

NZSA update – media coverage of gang members as security guards

As you may be aware there has been some coverage in the media regarding patched gang members being issued a COA security licence.

Whilst we are strongly opposed to gang membership within the security industry there were mitigating circumstances in the case of the two security guards mentioned in the article which the media did not report on.

After consulting with Trish McConnell, Registrar of the PSPLA, we advise that the media did not contact them prior to the article being published. The only source of information the media had was the decisions published on the PSPLA website. Unfortunately they did not mention the other conditions attached to the orders or any of the other decisions where COA’s have been cancelled because of gang membership.

We would also encourage members to contact the NZSA and seek our support with any PSPLA complaints or queries.

To read the article please visit here.

To read about the two PSPLA decisions mentioned in the article please read 2022_NZPSPLA_004 and 2022_NZPSPLA_008.

The NZSA team.

NZSA security update – changes to the PSPLA process

The PSPLA process improvement project is about to go live with a number of changes to the PSPLA application, printing and distribution processes. This communications notice is to inform NZSA members of these changes.

What: Starting Wednesday 13 April:

  1. The physical paper licences and certificates will be replaced with digital PDF documents. These will be emailed to the customer supplied address in the application. Note: there are no changes to badges. Badges will remain a physical card.
  2. Informative text will be added to the online application form, and outdated information removed. e.g. There is now text informing customers that licences and certificates will be sent via email to the email address provided.
  3. Badge packs will no longer contain additional content, such as card covers, clips and lanyards. Badges will be attached to a carrier letter and sent in a DLE envelope (a standard size envelope). This is will be mailed directly to the customer provided postal address.
  4. The online PSPLA application form will be unavailable between 9pm and 11pm on Tuesday 12 April. This is so updates can be implemented.

Action: Take note in the change of service.

Coming later: There will be one more major release in the PSPLA process improvement project. You will receive a communication notice regarding these changes closer to the time.

Questions: Please contact [email protected] if you have any questions regarding these changes.

The NZSA team.

NZSA update – Finalists of the inaugural NZ OSPA’s announced!

The panel of independent experts from across the New Zealand security industry has concluded its judging – which means it’s time to reveal the finalists of the first-ever New Zealand Outstanding Security Performance Awards (OSPAs).

The 2022 New Zealand OSPAs has attracted an excellent number of quality submissions in its first year and the judging panel faced a challenging task narrowing down the entries to select only the very best.

The OSPA’s are supported in New Zealand by the NZSA and ASIS and it’s great to see NZSA members well represented.

Commenting on the awards, founder of the OSPAs Professor Martin Gill said: “We are delighted by the response we have received.  And all those that have made it to the finalists list should be very proud, as only those that reach a score threshold go forward to the next phase of the competition.”

The 2022 finalists are:

Outstanding In-House Security Manager/Director
Rehan du Toit – Auckland University of Technology
Dean Kidd – Auckland Unlimited
Brent Mirfin – Evotek Technologies

Outstanding Contract Security Manager/Director
Gareth Bacon – First Security Guarding Services
Nathan Cray – Global Security Solutions
Stu Leith – Platform 4 Group
Pete Mason – Optic Security Group
Dion Neill – Protective Services (acquired by Platform 4 Group)
James Ngatai-Blyth – First Contact

Outstanding Contract Security Company (Guarding)
First Contact
First Security Guarding Services
Platform 4 Group
SLS Security

Outstanding Security Consultant
Lee Ashton – Optic Security Group
Nick Gibbs – First Security Guarding Services
Jo Lloyd – Straif Security Specialists
Dion Neill
Lincoln Potter
Ashley Quensell – Platform 4 Group

Outstanding New Security Product
WelfareFirst™ – First Security Guarding Services
My Vaccine Pass integration – Gallagher

Outstanding Security Partnership
Evotek Technologies and Visual Networks
Focus Digital Security Solutions & NZ Police
The Precinct Security Model created by Alan Young

Outstanding Security Officer
Jodi Lomax – Bank of New Zealand
Sione Tusini – Rex – Platform 4 Group

Outstanding Female Security Professional
Tracey Gattsche – Optic Security Group
Zoe Grant – First Contact
Jill Priest – First Security Guarding Services
Ravina Ram – Matrix Security Group
Sherilyn Tasker – Gallagher
Trish Thompson – Gallagher
Karen Timpson – Bank of New Zealand
Jennie Vickers – ZeopardLaw and Consultant to Fortinet

Outstanding Young Security Professional
Stella Donachie – Red Badge Group
Pascale Howell – Gallagher
Soul Lauvi-Johnson – Optic Security Group
Kyle Nu’uali’itia – Evotek Technologies Ltd

Lifetime Achievement
To be announced on the day

Winners will be announced on Friday 27 May 2022 at a gala dinner taking place at the Aotea Centre in Auckland.

Visit the OSPA website for further information

 

The NZSA team.

NZSA security update – Industry Code of Practice for Access Controlled Doors

Industry Code of Practice for Access Controlled Doors and Compliance Schedule Reference Guide
One of the key focus areas for the Electronic Security Special Interest Group has been the need for clarity and consistency around building compliance.

To assist in progressing this we have formed a close relationship with the Association of Building Compliance (ABC).

ABC was established to build competency, set a high standard, and provide accountability in the provision of services for Building Warrant of Fitness (BWoF).

The aims for ABC include:

  • To educate, and provide information and guidelines on industry issues and legislative changes in relation to the Building Compliance Industry
  • Educate Members through education, training workshops, courses and resources to work to meet current legislative requirements and standards
  • To consult on, participate and provide training and expertise in any matters of legislation and regulation by Government and Territorial Authorities applicable to either or both the Building Compliance regime and/or Independent Qualified Person (IQP) regime
  • Promote and foster relationships with key stakeholders and other related industry groups
  • Actively promote standards and to support and encourage Employer and Employee participation in industry training initiatives

These aims are obviously closely aligned with those of the NZSA.

We wish to make our members who operate in the electronic security sector aware of two important documents that have been prepared by ABC.

  1. Code of Practice for Electro Mechanical Controlled Locking Devices on Egress Doors (e.g Access Controlled Doors)
  2. Compliance Schedule Reference Guide (Content Examples)

Both of these documents can be found on the NZSA Website under Good Practice Guideline and Industry Codes of Practice.

The NZSA team.

NZSA security update

COA Conflict Management Training – Refresher Training for Trainers

As the industry peak body, the NZSA has appointed Bespoke Security Group and Hard Target to deliver the Conflict Management Refresher Training programmes around the country. These providers are subject matter experts in their own right and will ensure that those who are approved to deliver the Conflict Management Training meet necessary standards.

The next refresher training is:

Date:                        8 April 2022
Trainer:                   Quinton Swanson, Hard Target
Location:                 Mt Wellington, Auckland
Cost:                       $395 + gst

For further information and to register please email [email protected]

Please note: the Conflict Management Refresher course includes assessment activity.For more training dates and information please head to our website. All information can be found under the heading COA Conflict Management Training – Train the Trainer and Refresher Training.

Skills Consulting Group launches Level Up

Nearly half of New Zealand’s workforce faces challenges with their literacy, numeracy or communication. It’s highly likely that some of your workforce are among this group – and that your bottom line is being affected.

Skills Consulting Group’s Level Up programme can help. With Level Up, we’ll improve literacy and numeracy skills within your organisation, benefiting both you and your employees. And we’ll take care of every step of the process.

It doesn’t have to cost you, either. If your people meet employee eligibility criteria, Level Up is 100% free.

If you’d like to find out more about Level Up, email Skills Consulting Group business development manager Jonathan Rogers at [email protected] or call us on +64 9 525 2590.

For further information please visit the Level Up website.

About Skills
Skills Consulting Group is a full-service consultancy working with businesses, industry bodies and governmental agencies to build success by upskilling their workforce. We’re based in New Zealand and work all over the globe.

The businesses within Skills Consulting Group are experts in workplace capability, people development, and employee wellbeing.  Our brands include IMNZ, E-tec, David Forman and SoftEd. From vocational training to employee wellbeing programmes, they’re united in their focus on growing people well.

Through Skills Consulting Group’s network of specialist services and brands, we will work with you to tailor solutions that meet the unique needs of your organisation and your people.

The NZSA team.

NZSA security update – PSPLA Omicron Protocol

Our Registrar has issued a new protocol recognising the current difficulties in recruiting and in getting staff to complete the training requirements under their temporary/blue CoA status. The new protocol allows for emergency appointments and applications for third temporary certificates.

It has also been noted that there is a fault with the search function on the PSPLA website and this is currently being addressed.

Please see attached the new PSPLA Protocol.

The NZSA team.

NZSA security update – Covid isolation period reduced

The isolation length for Covid cases and household contacts will be decreased from 10 days to seven, kicking in from 11.59pm on 11 March.

Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said that “high case numbers and household contacts, and the current 10 day isolation requirement, is having a wider impact on many parts of our lives”.

“There needs to be a balance between effectively controlling the outbreak and the flow-on effect for business and essential goods and services such as transport and food supply.

“The most up to date public health advice is that there is a decline in infectiousness of Omicron over time, and that in most cases transmission occurs within seven days,” he said.

Hipkins said the reduction follows “similar changes overseas and increasing evidence that people are most likely to transmit the virus earlier in their infectious period”.

He said evidence showed the risk of reinfection with Covid in the first three months “is very low”.

“For this reason, recovered cases will no longer need to self-isolate if they become a household contact within 90 days after having the virus. This is an increase from the current 28 days.”

Director of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said last week that people who had already contracted Covid and had undergone their isolation period did not need to re-isolate “for a period of some months” if they then become a household contact

“They would have a high level of immunity, and of course be at a very low risk of being infected and therefore at a low risk of infecting others,” he said at the time.

Under the new isolation rules, household contacts still need to take RAT tests on day 3 and 7 of the isolation period.

“If they become symptomatic they should also get a test, and if the result is positive, they are required to isolate for seven days from that point,” Hipkins said.

“If a person is isolating and still has symptoms after seven days, they are advised to stay home until 24 hours after symptoms resolve.”

The NZSA will provide further updates as they become available.

The NZSA team.

NZSA security industry newsletter – March 2022

CEO REPORT

Welcome to our March 2022 newsletter.

I had the pleasure of having a week off in in Central Otago in late February, enjoying some bike riding (highly recommend the Lake Dunstan Trail but next time will forget my ego and go for an ebike) and quality wine and food.

Whilst local tourism and hospitality providers have been largely resilient to the direct impacts of Covid/Omicron, it was very obvious that the most significant problem they are facing is finding workers. I spoke to a number of business owners who have either shut down their customer facing operations or are on the point of closing down and with little likelihood of reopening unless there is a dramatic change to government border and migration settings.

Whilst the government has a philosophy of training New Zealanders into roles, the simple reality is that many Kiwis have no interest in the work on offer, particularly given that just about every industry sector is desperate for workers. Similarly, the argument that there are 188,000 potential workers on the Job Seeker benefit has little merit when a significant proportion of those are long-term beneficiaries who for reasons of mental health or dependency issues will find it difficult to gain employment.

The security industry has been dealing with the same issues around staff shortages for several years, exacerbated by first Covid and more recently the Omicron variant.

We certainly appreciate that it is very trying times for security providers in trying to ensure service continuity whilst dealing with daily staff shortages of up to 20%. Talking to a number of our members, there has been considerable planning around business continuity and the prioritisation of services so as to ensure minimum disruption to customers and that certainly seems to be paying dividends.

Several weeks ago, we announced a special partnership arrangement between MSD and NZSA focused on finding additional workers for the security industry and specifically to assist with Omicron enforced staffing shortages. This follows on from our existing Skills for Industry programme with MSD that we have provided for the last four years, but with broadened employment outcomes that now include casual and part-time employment and open to all those allowed to work in New Zealand.

Despite only just launching our social media advertising, themed around helping maintain critical services and infrastructure, we have received a great initial response from potential applicants and will be working with those members who have registered interest in the programme with regards to the interviewing and potential employment of these candidates. If this service may be of interest please email Andrea Charlton on [email protected]

 

Omicron/RAT Tests

As mentioned above, Omicron is having a substantial impact, not only for our members but also across all critical services and industry sectors.

We have provided guidance to our members on registering as a critical service and accessing RAT tests for symptomatic workers and thankfully we are now moving towards having wider access to the tests.

A focus for us now is lobbying to reduce the stand-down for those workers who have either tested positive, or been a close contact, where they are free of symptoms and provided a negative test result.

I am very mindful that we have somewhat bombarded our members with information over the last few weeks however it has been a rapidly evolving situation (on one day the MBIE advisory page was updated five times) and feedback from members certainly confirms that they appreciate the timeliness of the updates and are happy to filter out critical information for their own needs.

 

NZSA 50th anniversary

Hopefully you noted the new logo at the header of this newsletter celebrating 50 years of existence for the NZSA.

Originally formed as the New Zealand Security Industry Association (NZSIA), this was changed to New Zealand Security Association (NZSA) in 1999.

This is a significant milestone for the organisation, and it is very pleasing that the NZSA now has considerable strength in membership and industry representation as befitting the peak body for the security industry.

We will be looking to formally commemorate the milestone as part of the annual Awards event in September and will keep you posted on this.

 

Increase in minimum wage

A reminder to members that the minimum wage will increase to $21.20 per hour effective from 1 April 2022 (currently $20.00).

 

Proposed New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme

The Government is currently consulting on an income insurance scheme for New Zealanders. The proposal was jointly developed by a working group comprising Government Officials, Business New Zealand and the Council of Trade Unions.

Key features of the scheme include:

  • The scheme will provide employees with up to 80% of their previous income (capped at $130,911) for up to six months following loss of employment due to redundancy or loss of capacity to work due to a health condition or disability.
  • Where an employee is made redundant, their employer will need to give four weeks notice and make a “bridging payment” of 80% of the employee’s wages during the notice period.
  • The cost of the scheme will be funded by a 2.77% levy split equally between the employee and the employer (approximately 1.39% each).
  • The levy will apply on income up to $130,911 and will be collected through the PAYE system.
  • To be eligible, employees will need to contribute for at least six months in the previous eighteen months preceding a claim.
  • Claimants under the scheme will need to seek new employment, re-train or undertake rehabilitation.

The NZSA is currently preparing a joint submission with the association representing commercial cleaners on the basis that we do not support the proposal at this time.

Whilst there is a case for reform, we believe that in the current climate of low unemployment, high (and increasing) inflation and extreme cost pressures on employers the introduction of the proposed scheme at this time would be detrimental to both employees and employers.

 

Improved funding support for electronic security qualifications

It is pleasing to note that the industry has been successful in gaining confirmation from TEC that the NZCiES Level 4 (New Zealand Certificate in Electronic Security) is now recognised as a New Zealand Apprenticeship.

This means that in addition to the NZCiES being covered under the Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (better known as Fees Free) through to December 2022, employers can now also claim a subsidy of up to $1,000 per month under the Apprenticeship Boost programme.

Unfortunately, this does not apply retrospectively and as the scheme only runs to 4 August 2022, employers will need to sign up workers to the NZCiES Level 4 and apply for the Apprenticeship Boost payment through Work and Income before that date.

Whilst Government has yet to announce any funding alternative going forward, it is expected that an equivalent scheme will be introduced and with electronic security qualifications recognised.

The other good news is that we now have confirmation that non New Zealand citizens can be enrolled provided they have the right to work in New Zealand for at least the length of the training programme specified in the training agreement. If they have a visa that allows them to work in New Zealand for three years, they can enrol in a three-year training programme. For further information please contact Carine Vaccari at ETEC on 022 5686671 or [email protected].

As always, we welcome all comments and feedback on NZSA or industry issues and activity.

Keep safe and well.

Kind regards,

Gary Morrison
CEO

 

New Zealand Security Awards 2022 – save the date!

We are pleased to announce that this year’s annual New Zealand Security Awards will be held on Friday 16 September 2022 at the Hilton, one of Auckland’s iconic and premier function venues.

As it is the 50th anniversary of the NZSA we would love to showcase some security memorabilia at the awards event. If you have anything that might be of interest from 1972 onwards please contact [email protected].

 

Support for vaccination booster

Following on from the recent booster campaign in February, the Ministry of Health are getting in touch with various organisations that provide Critical Services to find out if there is a need for support to increase the uptake of boosters among your staff/contractors.

Protecting the workforce from Omicron and ensuring business continuity is top of mind right now, and the Ministry of Health would be happy to discuss any challenges your workplace may be having to maximise the uptake of vaccinations, and the potential ways in which they may be able to help.

If this of interest, please contact Ashvindev Singh at the Ministry of Health on [email protected].

Attached is a brochure about-the-pfizer-booster that outlines the key information about boosters. This resource is also available in other languages and if that is useful to you please contact Ashvindev Singh at the Ministry of Health on [email protected].

 

Keeping your team up to date

Like many organisations we are constantly looking for ways to ensure we can communicate effectively with our members and their teams. The best way to stay up to date on NZSA and industry news is via our newsletter. The more people from each company who receive our newsletter, the higher the chance of updates being communicated within the industry.

With this in mind, we welcome you to send us any company contacts who would like to receive our newsletter and we will add them to our distribution list.

Please email any contacts to [email protected].

 

NZSA member referral – strength in numbers

NZSA’s membership has grown strongly over the past year and each new member not only strengthens the Association and the security community, it also enables us to provide you with more benefits and services and a greater voice for the industry. So help grow your community and strengthen your Association by referring a prospective new member.

To refer a prospective member please email details to [email protected] For details on member benefits please see the NZSA website.

 

Face masks available

The NZSA has obtained from the Ministry of Health face masks from government stocks. These masks are Ministry of Health approved for essential services. The masks are available to order in boxes of 50 and the cost is $37.50 + gst per box ($0.75 per unit) for members and $50 + gst per box for non-members.

If you would like to place an order can you please email us at [email protected] with your requirements.

Member Benefits

Building Networks Compliance Guidance

Building Networks are the leading authority on building compliance and they are offering a 20% discount for members: Building Networks website

For industry news, updates, tips and opinions from the frontline, sign up to the Building Networks newsletter or visit their YouTube channel.

First Aid and Refresher Training

Life Care Consultants have extensive experience with first aid training in the security industry and are offering NZSA members a 10% discount on all first aid and refresher training.

For further information please email Russell Taylor [email protected].

 

Mobilcard

NZSA have an agreement with Mobilcard offering members fuel discounts

Key Benefits:

  • Up to 16 cents per litre (including GST) discount off the pump price for all diesel and petrol purchased at a discounted Mobilcard acceptor sites. Minimum discount of 12 cents per litre (including GST).
  • Available at 330+ sites nationwide. View www.mobilfuelfinder.co.nz to find an acceptor site near you.
  • No card or transaction fees.
  • No need to manage receipts for tax purposes, all managed under one account.
  • Costs can be tracked easily with one monthly invoice. You can also have online access to multiple reports including the fuel consumed by individual vehicles.
  • PIN number and purchase restrictions for added security.
  • You must be a member of the NZSA to qualify for this offer.

A vehicle consuming 100 litres per week using a discount of up to 6 cents per litre = $6 discount per week..

A vehicle consuming 100 litres per week using the NZSA MOBILCARD discount of up to 16cents per litre = $16 discount per week

For a company fleet of 20 vehicles that’s potentially an annual saving of over $10,000 per annum.

The discount level is dependent on volume of fuel used per annum.

For further information please email [email protected].

 

simPRO

simPRO is a leading operations management solution for service, maintenance and project contractors. Connect the office to the field, delivery exceptional customer service and gain invaluable insights with automated processes, streamlined workflows and in-depth business reporting.

NZSA members are eligible to receive a 20% discount on initial implementation costs of simPRO and for the month of November two months free!

For further information visit the simPRO website.

 

NZSA Speak Up Line

The NZSA Speak Up Line is free to members and provides access to a confidential service where staff can report issues such as bullying, sexual harassment, poor employment conditions, illegal practices such as theft or drug dealing and other matters of concern that may be occurring in the workplace and not being reported.

Phone                 0800 775 775

Online reports     www.integrityline-nz.org/nzsa

The NZSA will provide posters, business-sized card to go into wallets, stickers and introductory letters for your staff. They are designed for members to include their own corporate branding prior to distribution.

The service is particularly valuable where employees may be reluctant to speak up or report matters due to fears that by doing so it may affect their employment or risk further victimisation.

It is also important to note that such services meet government procurement requirements around providing a voice for staff.

This service is provided by Crimestoppers who obviously have considerable experience in handling sensitive calls in a confidential manner. They log the calls or online reports and forward to the NZSA for further investigation if required. The staff member can remain anonymous if they wish to do so.

Register for the NZSA Speak Up Line by emailing [email protected] If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

 

NZSA HR Advisory Service

NZSA is partnered with Sucess HR to provide access to free HR advice as well as templated key documents and policies.

This is a fantastic offering for our members and their management staff, in particular those smaller companies who do not have access to in-house or contracted HR expertise. Please share this with your line managers, supervisors and staff who may have a need for this great HR service.

Services and documents available include:

  • HR advice and guidance
  • Employment Agreements:  permanent, fixed term, casual
  • Position Descriptions
  • Policy Documents
  • Updates on legislation and best practice

For members requiring NZSA HR Advisory services please contact: [email protected] or 021 918 331

 

Membership

We welcome the following new Corporate Members:

Hamner Springs SecurityServices Ltd

 

BC Security Ltd

 

and the following new Associate Individual Member:

Dave McMahon

 

Events

Conflict Management – Train the Trainer and Refresher Training

As the industry peak body, the NZSA has appointed Bespoke Security and Hard Target to deliver the Conflict Management Train the Trainer and Refresher Training programmes around the country. These providers are subject matter experts in their own right and will ensure that those who are approved to deliver the Conflict Management Training meet necessary standards.

For further information and to register please email [email protected].

 

NZISF breakfast meeting

Topic:  Forensic technology considerations when responding to cyber matters

The New Zealand Courts are now well versed in Forensic Technology procedures relating to matters under the Crimes Act. However, given the nuances of the “Crimes involving computers” sections, there are numerous challenges associated with establishing certain aspects of a case, such as proving ‘who’ was the person actually committing the crime, especially where there is evidence that a computer has been ‘compromised’ by an unknown party. This presentation will discuss key observations from the field and make recommendations as to how information security experts can assist in collecting, preserving, retrieving and interpreting potentially relevant evidence.

When: 8:00am Thursday 10 March 2022 via zoom

For further information and to register please see the NZSA website.

 

NZSA security update – NZ close contact isolation rules relaxed

Covid-19 close contacts no longer need to self-isolate, under new rules brought into effect by the NZ Government last Friday.

From 11.59pm 24 February, only positive cases and household contacts need to isolate for 10 days, and those with symptoms need to isolate and get a test. Asymptomatic close contacts do not need to isolate, but should monitor for symptoms.

Bubble of one exemption

Household contacts who are vaccinated and asymptomatic may continue to work as long as they are able to maintain a ‘bubble of one’.

The ‘bubble of one’ means they are not in a customer-facing role, and are able to effectively isolate themselves at work, subject to specific requirements. They must continue to self-isolate outside work for the usual 10 days.

These workers do not need to use RATs during their 10-day isolation period, and businesses do not need to register for a ‘bubble of one’.

Full details available here.

Close Contact Exemption Scheme

Fully vaccinated, asymptomatic household contacts will also be able to return to work if they are registered as a critical worker, once they return a negative RAT result.

For your workers to be considered critical, you need to register as a Critical Service with the Close Contact Exemption Scheme, and identify workers that are required to maintain your operations.

Critical workers participating in the Scheme will need to self-isolate outside of work for 10 days, and are only permitted to travel to and from work and their closest RAT kit collection site.

These workers must also maintain health measures to minimise exposure in the workplace, albeit not as stringent as the ‘bubble of one’ requirements.

Full details available here.

Covid Support Payment eligibility expanded

The NZ Government also announced expanded eligibility for the Covid Support Payment, which provides funds to businesses struggling due to the Omicron outbreak.

Businesses are eligible if they can show a drop in revenue of 40% or more during a 7-day period from 16 February 2022, compared to a 7-day period in either 5 January – 15 February 2022, or a new alternate comparison period of 5 January 2021 – 15 February 2021.

Each Covid Support Payment will be $4,000 per business plus $400 per full-time employee, capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000.

Applications open today – 28 February 2022.

More information available here.

 

The NZSA team.

NZSA security update – Minimum Wage/Return to Work Options/Steps for RAT’s

Minimum wage increase

Government announced last Friday that the Minimum Wage will increase by 6% from $20.00 to $21.20 per hour effective 1 April 2022.

This is a substantial increase and members who have staff on, or close to the minimum wage, will need to give careful consideration to how they will be able to pass on or recover increased costs.

 

Return to work options for close contacts

The Government has announced that there will be two pathways for close contacts to return to work early during their self-isolation period. More details on these options are set out below however, there is still some uncertainty and we are seeking clarification on the details. The relevant Government websites have been updated multiple times since the announcement, and this is our best understanding at the time of writing. We will provide further updates as information becomes available.

In addition, we note the following:

  • Regardless of the traffic light level, all businesses can continue to operate.
  • These new pathways take effect at Phases 2 and 3 of the Omicron response. It is expected we will move to Phase 2 when there are approx. 1,000 cases per day.

 

If a worker is identified as a contact there are two pathways:

 

Pathway 1: Bubbles of One [Phase 2 and 3]

Workers who can operate in a ‘bubble of one’ will not need to register and will not require a rapid antigen test to return to work.

This pathway is available to all businesses and there is no limit on the number of ‘bubbles of one’ you can have in your business. To maintain a bubble of one, that worker would also need to follow protocols around distancing, mask wearing, etc and must also travel to work as a bubble of one. We envisage this pathway may apply for guards working alone on non-customer facing sites and for patrol officers, particularly when conducting external checks. Additional procedures may be required to avoid situations such as patrol musters and supervisor checks.

If your worker is a close contact of someone with Covid-19, they can continue to work as a bubble of one (whether indoors or outdoors) during their self-isolation period if they are:

  • vaccinated;
  • asymptomatic; and
  • not customer facing.

 

Pathway 2: Close contact exemption scheme [Phase 2 and 3]

This option is only available to “critical sectors”.

Whilst “Security” is not specifically covered within the broad definition of critical sectors, we fall within the criteria category “Other critical public services that will cause significant social, economic or physical harm to the community if temporarily closed”.

 

To use this pathway, your business will need to register as a critical service via Business Connect.

 

Workers returning to work under this option will need to carry evidence of their registration, as well as a “critical worker authorisation letter” from the business.

This pathway allows close contacts to continue to work during their self-isolation period if they are:

  • vaccinated;
  • asymptomatic; and
  • return a negative rapid antigen test prior to each day/shift they are at work during the isolation period. Rapid antigen tests can be either supplied by businesses (if available) or accessible by the worker from Ministry of Health distribution hubs.

Under this option, workers would also need to follow protocols around mask wearing etc.

 

Summary

Businesses need to register as a critical service, we cannot do this on your behalf.

Feedback already suggests that the processes and requirements are overly complex and open to interpretation.

Further changes are likely – we will keep you posted on relevant developments.

 

Steps for using Rapid Antigen Tests for business

The Ministry of Health has provided the RAT_for_business_workflow for the use of Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT’s) for business.

 

The NZSA team.