COVID-19 Required Testing Order - Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Who does the testing order apply to?
A. The Testing Order only applies to regions in Alert Level 3.
This coverage may be subject to change pending Cabinet decisions in the future.
The Order legally requires certain people to be tested.
The testing requirements are:
- All kaimahi including whānau awhi must provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test that has been administered within the last five days, either;
- prior to returning to work on site if the Kōhanga Reo has not been open already under Alert Level 3, or,
- by 26 October if the Kōhanga Reo is already in operation (this testing requirement applies regardless of vaccination status.
- After this initial test, a negative COVID-19 test every seven days (this testing requirement applies until they have received two doses of the vaccine) for:
- all kaimahi of the Kōhanga Reo
- every person performing any work or service onsite at the Kōhanga Reo including volunteers or unpaid kaimahi who may have contact with the tamariki
- in the case of a home-based Kōhanga Reo, every person over the age of 12 years who resides in the home where the home-based education and care service is provided.
If you’re not going to be physically on site, you do not need to be tested. However, kaimahi and whānau awhi who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination by 15 November and be fully vaccinated (two doses) by 1 January 2022.
Q2. As a kaimahi, what are my requirements under the Testing Order?
A. All kaimahi working at a licensed Kōhanga Reo under Alert Level 3 settings must present evidence of an initial negative COVID-19 test that has been administered within the last five days,
- prior to working onsite where the service has not been operating under Alert Level 3, or
- by 26 October where the service is already operating.
This is required regardless of vaccination status. It is an offence to breach these requirements.
Testing is not required at Alert Level 2.
After this initial test, all kaimahi who are going to be onsite are also required to be tested at least once every seven days, until they have received two doses of the vaccine. It is an offence to breach this requirement.
Once employees and workers have had two doses of the vaccine, they are no longer required to undergo this regular testing every seven days.
All kaimahi must inform the Kōhanga Reo management of the dates they are tested and provide proof of the test result. A register should be maintained until the option is added to Edge.
Q3. As an employer, what is the Kōhanga Reo required to do under the Testing Order?
A. Kōhanga Reo are required to inform all kaimahi that they are required to:
- provide evidence of an initial negative COVID-19 test that has been administered within the last five days
- Prior to returning to work onsite (for Kōhanga Reo not already open at Alert Level 3), or,
- by 26 October (for Kōhanga Reo already operating)
- After their initial test, continue to be tested at least once every seven days, until they have had two doses of the vaccine.
All Kōhanga Reo must not prevent their kaimahi from being tested for COVID-19 during working hours, however kaimahi are encouraged to be tested outside of their normal working hours where possible to minimise further disruption to tamariki.
The Kōhanga Reo is required to confidentially collect and store the following records:
- Employees’ and whānau awhi legal full name and date of birth
- Contact number and email address by which the kaimahi may be reached and the testing period that applies to the person (i.e., at least once every 7 days if not fully vaccinated)
- The dates on which the person has undergone testing in accordance with the testing period that applies to the person and the results of those tests.
Kōhanga Reo are already likely to have some of this information but should check that details are up to date. All information must be collected and stored in line with the Privacy Act 2020. It is an offence for the Kōhanga Reo not to meet these requirements, including collecting and storing these records. It is highly recommended that this information is stored in Edge which stores the information in compliance with the Privacy Act 2020.
Q4. What obligations do I have in relation to people who aren’t employees?
A. The testing requirements also apply to every person performing any work or service, including a volunteer, unpaid kaimahi or contractor, who may have contact with children while performing the work or service.
The Kōhanga Reo is responsible for informing volunteers of their testing obligations and for keeping the appropriate records. If an agency is used to source a contractor or reliever, that agency is responsible for the collection of the required information.
Q5. What if an employee or worker refuses to be tested or refuses to share the necessary information?
A. Employees who refuse to meet testing requirements cannot return to work onsite. They will be committing an infringement offence if they do and the Kōhanga Reo will be in breach of the Order if they allow it. Kōhanga Reo should manage this situation in line with existing Health and Safety and good faith employment practices.
Employees should also be requested to provide evidence of the negative COVID-19 test by the required dates and be advised that a failure to provide this will result in a presumption that the testing requirements have not been met.
If an employee has not met the requirements for testing, the Kōhanga should consider the employee’s reasons for this and work through the options available without delay, including the feasibility of off-site duties.
The requirements of an employer under the Employment Relations Act 2000 remain in the COVID-19 environment. In essence, this means:
- decisions and process must be fair and reasonable
- the obligation of good faith still applies, which requires employees to be provided with relevant information and an opportunity to comment before decisions about the continuation of their employment are made; and
- consideration must be given to alternatives for those who do not meet the requirements of the Order. If no alternatives are possible, an outcome may be termination of employment.
Appropriate employment relations advice should be sought before any disciplinary action is taken by the service.
Q6. If I’m not going to be working on site, do I have to be tested?
Kāore. This Order only applies to those who are physically onsite at theKōhanga Reo.
It does not apply to those who are performing services remotely. If services are partially on site and partially remote, then the testing requirements apply.
Q7. What if I can’t be tested for medical reasons?
Kaimahi are not required to undergo testing to the extent that they have particular physical (or other) needs that would make it medically inappropriate to be tested. They will need to provide evidence of this.
Kaimahi will still have to go to a testing centre to obtain an exemption to present to their Kōhanga Reo. A health practitioner at that testing centre will determine whether the employee has particular physical (or other) needs that make it inappropriate for the person to undergo testing. The kaimahi may need to get a subsequent exemption if the original was time sensitive.
Q8. What does fully vaccinated mean?
A person is fully vaccinated as soon as they have received two doses of the COVID-19 vaccination.
Q9. If my region is moved into Alert Level 2, does the Testing Order still apply?
Kāore, however kaimahi who are not fully vaccinated will still be required to have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccination by 15 November and be fully vaccinated by 1 January 2022.