COVID-19 Update #14 Vulnerable Person Status

Do not disclose any underlying medical condition without first seeking advice from NZPFU

The NZPFU has been informed that the National Commander has sent out a National Notice today again requesting staff to fill out a form to provide information on underlying medical conditions when claiming vulnerable person status.

The NZPFU refers members to our Covid-19 Update #11 which explains that members do not have to and should not disclose their underlying medical condition. 

The NZPFU advice for those that that may fall within the “at-risk” categories to take the following steps (if you have not already resolved the issue for you in your workplace):

  1. If you have one of the listed underlying medical conditions (listed above) contact your GP and/or specialist and discuss the nature of your work including types of response and contact with public. Attached is FENZ’s guidelines for risk assessment that can be provided to your GP and/or specialist for their information.  You are only providing it as background information to assist with risk assessment.  Please ensure your medical practitioner does not disclose the type of underlying medical condition to your employer.

  2. If your medical advice is that you are not within the vulnerable group then you do not need to do anything further.

  3. If your medical advice is that you fall within the vulnerable category for Covid-19 risk and you cannot continue in your role because of the Covid-19 risk then get a medical certificate from your GP stating only that you come within the NZ Government classification of a vulnerable person and therefore cannot continue operational response including to the general public.  Do not disclose, and ensure your medical certificate/advise does not disclose, the underlying medical condition or any medications.  You do not have to disclose your underlying medical condition or any information about any treatment, medications etc.  

    - Most GPs and Specialists now have contactless appointment so you can communicate by email and telephone.
    - It is important that you maintain your privacy and your personal medical information as this issue is purely in response to the Covid-19 risk. 
    - Do not disclose, and ensure your medical advice does not disclose, the underlying medical condition.   You only have to have a doctor state that due to an underlying medical condition your are classified as a vulnerable person if exposed to Covid-19.  It is important that this expressly states purely in relation to Covid-19.
    - Also discuss with your Doctor the aspects of your role/tasks you perform that places you at risk.  There may be other roles/tasks you can perform that are within your role that you can perform safely or with necessary adjustments.

  4. Take your medical certificate (ensuring it only declares you as a Covid-19 vulnerable person and does not disclose your underlying medical condition) to your manager to discuss.  We strongly advise you first talk to your union representative before taking the medical certificate and discussing options with your management.

For those that have medical advice that they come within the vulnerable group category, and but for the Covid-19 risk would be able to continue their duties, you should be placed on paid special leave until the risk is alleviated.   

  • The discussions with your manager may include whether there is other work/duties you can perform either at home or safely. 
  • The option of you undertaking different duties, or those that are not within your job description, can only be by your agreement. 
  • We strongly advise you discuss those situations with your union representative before agreeing to undertake any other duties, to protect your rights including ensuring it is documented that this is only for the duration of you being vulnerable within the Covid-19 context.

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