Natural disasters:
Severe weather and flooding

Key advice for retailers

It’s important for all businesses to be prepared, we have advice to support
business continuity planning and what to do if you are impacted by a natural disaster.

We have also summarised a list of frequently asked questions to help you manage
questions around employees pay, leave, and wellbeing.

Frequently asked questions

You can find up to date information on state of emergencies, road closures, public health advice and water/wastewater advice through the Civil Defence website.

The most important thing is to keep in touch with your employees, firstly to make sure that they and their families are okay, and secondly to ascertain what is happening for them. 

It is important to remember that NZ employment law does not specifically provide for what is to happen after a natural disaster occurs.  

When assessing an employee’s current situation, you will need to consider a number of factors: 

  • what the employee’s employment agreement specifies (does it contain a ‘force majeure’ clause?) 
  • what your businesses own policies and procedures say. 
  • the reasons why the employee is not working. 
  • the current state of your business and workplace.  

In such a unique situation as this, wherever possible we recommend that as a first step, employers try to seek agreement with their employees, and try to remain open to flexible solutions. 

When it comes to payment for time away from work in a situation when an employee is ready and willing to work but can’t get there, or the employer can’t open their business, then typically the day should be considered a paid day if the employer has advised the employee not to come to work.  

Experiencing an emergency can be overwhelming. It’s normal for you and your employees to feel upset and physically drained during and after the event. You can see our advice on looking after yourself and others during times of stress here

Assessing the property for damage

Get in touch with your landlord firstly to check that everyone is safe, and to assess any damage.

Landlords are responsible for maintaining the property in a reasonable condition. This includes paying for any damages to the property caused by a natural disaster. Tenants are not responsible for any damage to the property, or clean up following a natural disaster.

If the property is flooded, the landlord is responsible for drying the property if it has water damage, and paying the tenants for any electricity charges incurred.

Landlords should also follow National Emergency Management Agency and civil defence guidelines to ensure they are meeting obligations around building assessments, health and safety of the rental property, supply of water and repairs.

Tenancy Services has more advice for landlords here.

We’re here to help

If you would like to discuss your individual circumstances, contact our Advice Service on
0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia) or fill out the form below and we will get back to you.

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