IT Professionals New Zealand | Te Pou Hangarau Ngaio

Covid-19 Advice

You may be aware that IT is regarded as an Essential Service in some circumstances. However, this isn't carte blanche to continue as normal during Level 4 and only certain workers and activities appear to be covered.

IT is exempt on the following basis:

Critical support services to ensure businesses and workers can continue working from home are considered to be essential. This includes functions such as IT and Payroll

So for example, if you look after a client with a local server onsite, and that server has stopped responding and is essential to ensure workers can continue to work from home, you can likely attend onsite to troubleshoot it. Or turn it off and then back on again… :)

This does NOT mean you can just go about your normal work, undertake onsite general non-essential maintenance, do that onsite reconfiguration you've been intending to do for a while, etc. The exemption is ONLY for critical support where, without it, businesses and workers couldn't continue working from home.

You should consider objectively whether what you've been asked to do is critical support that would require breaking the lockdown. If it's not, you have a legal obligation to decline.

Obviously remote support is the preferred approach, either accessing machines remotely or supporting clients over the phone/videocall. However if you do need to travel, you should either have a work ID card, or a letter from your CEO or equivalent in case you're stopped by the Police.

There will be a lot of grey areas. In the first instance, apply the test: is this really critical? Could it wait? What's the impact if you don't do it? If there's any option of getting by without breaking the lockdown, do that instead. And if you have to go onsite, use all the precautions you can: 2 metre air gap and wipe down any surfaces, including door handles etc, with an alcohol wipe before and after contact.

Telecommunications and other critical infrastructure workers and ISPs are exempted as well of course, however only for the purpose of ensuring critical infrastructure keeps functioning.

Please don't abuse the exemption!

We all have a huge role to play in this lockdown by keeping isolated. Our industry also has a role in helping keeping NZ running at level 4 and it's important, but we also don't want our industry known as the one that flouted the rules. Doing so would be both a breach of the current rules, plus a breach of your ethical responsibilities to your profession.

We can provide some advice within the guidelines provided, however MBIE is the authority - contact them on 0508 377 388 or email [email protected] to get clarification, especially if it's within that grey area.

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