The travel bubbles with Australia and the Cook Islands have opened up quarantine-free travel, but it doesn’t come without risk. See what you and your employees need to consider when travelling in a bubble.
If you send an employee to Australia or the Cook Islands for work purposes, you’ll be responsible for their health and safety, as well as any costs associated with the trip. This includes costs caused by the trip becoming longer than expected because of COVID-19.
Make sure your employee is comfortable with the idea of travelling and doesn’t feel pressured to go. If possible, provide them with enough personal protective equipment (PPE), like face masks, to last the duration of their trip.
When your employees are on a business trip, you have an obligation to pay:
If an employee wants to take annual leave that they’re entitled to, you can’t unreasonably refuse. However, you should let them know that while they’re on annual leave, it’s their responsibility to stay safe. It is good to remind them that they’ll have to cover the cost should they need to go into managed isolation.
Annual leave(external link) – Employment New Zealand
Work with your employees to come up with a plan about how to deal with things if there’s a COVID-19 resurgence and they:
Consider things like:
Quarantine-free travel with the Cook Islands(external link) – Unite Against COVID-19
Leave and pay entitlements during COVID-19(external link) – Employment New Zealand
You have to act in good faith and follow a fair and proper process.
Good faith(external link) – Employment New Zealand
Terminating employment agreements during COVID-19(external link) – Employment New Zealand
If a temporary visa holder travels to Australia or the Cook Islands, for work or pleasure, they need to make sure they have enough time on their visa to cover an extended stay.
They also need to be aware that if quarantine-free travel is suspended and border restrictions are put in place, they may need to apply for an exception to return to New Zealand.
If you or an employee is planning to travel overseas check if you need to renew your passport well before you travel.
Apply for a passport(external link) - Passports New Zealand