Gastro Outbreak – What employers (and employees) need to know

Hawke’s Bay is currently facing one its most significant community, health and business interruption events.  It is currently estimated that around 2,000 people may have been, or are suffering the effects of campylobacter.  Many others are having to provide support and care to dependents.   Local schools and kindergartens have elected to close for at least two days to prevent further spread.  As a result of this event, there may be or already are other workplace impacts or closures.  A number of businesses across the district are experiencing significant reductions in staffing. 

For staff affected with diarrhoea: 
• They must refrain from work for a period of 48 hours after the last episode of diarrhoea
• There is no regulatory requirement to obtain medical clearance prior to affected staff returning to work
• Where they handle, or work with food they remain subject to your food control plan.  All steps set out in your plan for sickness should be followed.

There may be other controls required in susceptible workplaces, especially where contact and transfer is a high risk. 

We would recommend that you carry out return to work meetings with all staff who have reported in unwell to ensure these guidelines are met. 

It is possible that this outbreak may lead to further business interruptions.  If you have to close your business and/or stand staff down, or are considering closing your business this week because of this outbreak, please contact a member of the Grow HR team on 06 878 5454 for further advice on the employment related processes.