The New Zealand Government has implemented vaccination mandates for several sectors and businesses.  As of December 3, 2021, New Zealand moved into the “traffic light” system, which requires certain businesses to check the “My Vaccine Pass” of all customers and staff entering its premises.

Temporary medical exemption:

The Director General of Health may grant a temporary medical exemption for those who are unable to get the vaccine for medical reasons.

This will allow them to obtain a “My Vaccine Pass”, but if they are working it does not guarantee that they will be able to continue working in their current role. Each medically exempt person’s continued employment will have to be decided on a case by case basis.

Circumstances where a medical exemption may be granted:

  •          If someone is unable to take a certain vaccine, a temporary exemption may be granted until an alternative vaccine           is available.
  •          If someone is recovering from a clinical condition, an exemption may be granted until it is deemed safe for them               receive a vaccine.
  •          If someone had an adverse reaction from the first dose of the vaccine, an exemption may be granted until their                 medical practitioner deems it is safe for them to have a further dose.

An individual cannot apply for an exemption themselves. If they believe that they meet the criteria set by the Ministry of Health for a medical exemption they should contact their usual health provider, who will be able to make the application on their behalf.

Exemption will only be valid for the time that it is necessary. They can be issued for no longer than 6 months at a time, after which another application will need to be made.

Temporary significant service disruption exemption

If an unvaccinated employee, who is subject to the vaccine mandate, is unable to work, and this is likely to cause significant disruption to the business or service, the employer may be able to make an application for a temporary exemption on their behalf. The application will be assessed by the Covid-19 Response Minister.

When determining whether an exemption will be appropriate the Minister may take into consideration the following matters:

  •          The significance of the disruption that will be caused to the service.
  •          Whether the service is considered essential (e.g. medical specialists).
  •          The amount of harm that will result if the employee is unable to work (e.g. disruption to the supply chain).
  •          The extent of the risk if the employee continues working
  •          Time needed to replace the particular employee.
  •          If the employee has started their vaccination process.
  •          What the employer has done to support the employee getting their vaccination.


Exemptions will only be valid for the time that it is necessary.  They can be issued for no longer than 6 months at a time, after that another application will need to be made. This temporary significant service disruption exemption does not guarantee that the employee will receive a “My Vaccine Pass”.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.