Vet Clinics as Critical Services, Isolating at Work and How to Pay Employees (or not)


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By Julie South of VetStaff. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

This week we’re looking at what vet clinics need to do to navigate Phase 2 of Omicron, what payment options you have for employees who get sick and then a lesson I had last week which, as Shania Twain would say – didn’t impress me much!
At 11:59pm on Tuesday 15 February NZ officially moved into Phase 2 of the Omicron Response framework.

In short, this means that positive cases need to self-isolate for 10 days (can self-release after day 10 if no symptoms for 72 hours).

Close contacts need to quarantine for seven days (test on day five)

RAT testing acceptable with PCR follow-up

However, for vet clinics who’re registered as a Critical Service, vaccinated team members can actually continue to work provided they’re asymptomatic.

Hopefully, by now your clinic has registered itself as a critical service. This is important because it means you can stay open for business should someone on your team be exposed to the virus.

The registration process is being facilitated by MBIE and you can find it by going to

To register you need to go to MBIE’s Business Connect Service and select Close Contact Exemption Scheme Register. It takes approximately 20-30 minutes to complete. Like I said you’ll need your REALME login so make sure you know where to find your password and login info before you start.

The scheme allows vaccinated people working for critical businesses to be exempted from health orders requiring them to isolate due to being close contacts.

Vaccinated & Non-Vaccinated Employees
Not all clinics have mandated that all employees must be vaccinated.

If you’re in a clinic where there’s a mix of vaccinated and unvaccinated, I believe – life according to Julie – you’ll need to have a different plan to a clinic that’s 100% vaccinated.


Because the Phase 2 critical worker conditions are applicable only to VACCINATED WORKERS.

Which means that when an unvaccinated team member is deemed a close contact THEY MUST ISOLATE AT HOME.

Whereas a vaccinated close contact can still come to work.

Everyone needs to consider how they’re all going to support each other – vaccinated and unvaccinated.

Paying Employees - or not - who're isolating

There’s a general legal principle that an employer is required to pay an employee if they are “ready, willing and able” to work.

The same principle will likely apply where a vet clinic requests that an employee stays away from the clinic based on their own risk assessment, as opposed to a government mandated requirement.

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