In these fast changing times you really need to know where you stand and to handle employment issues well such as sick leave, and health and safety.

We are regularly updating our website with articles on employer's health and safety obligations and how to apply sick leave and annual leave in the event of staff being ill, in self-isolation, working from home or unable to get to work due to government directions.

Much will depend upon the terms of your employment agreements and on the reasons for the staff absence. In general sick leave can be used but if they do not have sick leave then the employer can discuss if the employee wants to use annual leave or take leave in advance. If the employee has no sick leave and does not wish to use annual leave then the leave will be without pay.

As a further option, an employer after consultation can give 14 days' written notice requiring an employee to take annual leave.

Both employers and employees might qualify for government wage assistance to keep staff on so check out the MBIE website for the latest information.

Alan Knowsley