Changes to COVID-19 reinfection advice

If you, or one of your employees, has had COVID-19 it is possible you could be reinfected within 29 days of first getting sick.

The Ministry of Health says if a person develops new COVID-19 symptoms, and it has been 29 days or more since their previous infection, it is possible it is a reinfection with COVID-19, and they should take a rapid antigen test (RAT).

This is different from previous advice that people should not re-test if they had tested positive for COVID-19 within the past 90 days.

What this means for businesses and workers

The change of advice will affect people with symptoms, where they may have contracted COVID-19 again. People with symptoms should already be staying at home and recovering.

It means more COVID-19 reinfections will be identified, and these infected workers will need to self-isolate for seven days. This will reduce the chance of COVID-19 being spread in the workplace, and other workers catching COVID-19 and being off at the same time.

The rules for household contacts haven’t changed. They can go to work if they’ve had COVID-19 in the past 90 days, or they have completed isolation as a household in the last 10 days. They don’t need to stay home unless they become symptomatic themselves.

If paid sick leave is not available, you can offer staff paid special leave. Alternatively, you and your employee may agree that other leave – such as annual leave or unpaid leave – is taken.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is still available to you, including if you are self-employed, to help pay your employees who are self-isolating because of COVID-19 and unable to work. You can reapply for Leave Support if an employee (or you, if you’re self-employed) gets COVID-19 again and has to self-isolate.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme(external link) — Work and Income

Leave and pay entitlements during COVID-19(external link) — Employment New Zealand

You should continue with contingency planning to manage the impacts of staff being off with COVID-19. For further guidance click on the link below.

Managing the impact of COVID-19 cases at your business

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