COVID-19 Update: At risk personnel process

Today FENZ National Commander Kerry Gregory released the attached Notice with links to the Protocols for Alert Level 3 (Auckland) and Protocols for Alert Level 2 (rest of NZ).  The information on the FENZ portal is current and will be kept up to date.

  1. Those living and/or working in the Auckland Level 3 restricted area and are over 70 years old will not be able to continue operational duties during Level 3 restrictions and will need to discuss with your manager your return to paid special leave.  Any issues please contact your union representative.

  2. Those living and/or working in the Auckland Level 3 restricted area with underlying medical conditions will need to be assessed as it confirm if they can remain in operational roles or are able work from home or should be placed on paid special leave.

The NZPFU position on the provision of medical information to FENZ has not changed.  We strongly advise our members it is not in your interests to fill in the FENZ medical assessment form.  Currently this only applies to those living and/or working in Auckland as is a Level 3 precaution,  but the NZPFU advice applies whenever the issue of an underlying medical condition or medications that may impact on your ability to undertake operational duties during Covid-19 restrictions.

  • If  you  have one an underlying medical condition 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.   If you had a medical certificate that confirmed you were in the at-risk category during the previous Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions, and your condition has not changed, provide that medical certificate to your manager provided it only states you are at risk and does not disclose your underlying medical condition.  We strongly advise you first talk to your union representative before taking the medical certificate and discussing options with your management.

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

  • 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 an at-risk or 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  will 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 you are classified as an at risk 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.

  • 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.

Our previous notices explaining this position in more detail are https://www.nzpfu.org.nz/news/covid-19-update-11-vulnerable-person-status/ and
https://www.nzpfu.org.nz/news/covid-19-update-14-vulnerable-person-status/

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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