Gas outages in Wellington.  Heavy snowfalls in the South Island. Power cuts in Auckland.  Earthquakes in Christchurch.  They all meant that many employers could not open for business.

Where the interruption is short, many employers will choose to continue to pay employees to preserve goodwill.

Whether you must continue to pay staff during a temporary closure caused by outside circumstances depends on the terms of the employment agreement you have entered into.

If you want to be able to not pay workers if the business has to shut temporarily then this needs to be specifically covered in the agreement with employees.

Without such a provision, if you unilaterally cut wages, you could face claims for unpaid wages plus penalties.

Employees cannot be forced into any unnegotiated changes to their employment agreement.  Of course such changes may be bargained over the next time you negotiate your agreements, preserving goodwill.

Could your business afford to keep paying the wages if a power or gas cut meant you were closed for days or weeks?

To give you options for negotiations we can provide you with suitable clauses to cover situations like these.