Whilst the information below is Auckland derived, we understand this approach is being used across New Zealand.
Staff Accommodation Guidance
The response to COVID-19 requires DHBs to consider staff accommodation to meet unique needs that do not occur in the normal course of business.
It is important for DHBs to apply the staff need scenarios consistently but how that is operationalised will be best understood and delivered by the local DHB team.
Guidance below will assist IMTs to arrange accommodation in accordance with local needs.
2. Regional Accommodation access criteria and funding arrangements
This flowchart outlines pathways for staff to access accommodation and the type of accommodation that is suitable. This can be used as a tool for staff and managers to understand the scenarios where DHB provided accommodation will be appropriate. As much as possible staff should keep their usual living arrangements with changes made in the home as appropriate. Maintaining links with social and family support is an important part of staff wellness.
Any accommodation should be approved for a maximum period of 3 weeks. This guidance will be reviewed and reissued by NRHCC by 23 April 2020.
2.1 The DHB will fund accommodation where staff are:
- unable to travel to work or attend on call due to restricted public transport options and all other options have been explored. This option will be limited to when the staff member is on shift;
- in situations where they have an underlying health condition or a vulnerable dependant and an occupational health risk assessment has determined no alternate arrangements can be made at work or at home to manage COVID-19 risk factors;
- a confirmed case of COVID-19 and no safe arrangement that can be made in the home to keep separate;
- in self isolation as a close contact and no safe arrangement that can be made in the home to keep separate;
- are ordinarily entitled to accommodation within their terms and conditions of employment.
Other scenarios may be considered on a case by case basis by the incident management team.
2.2 Staff will pay for their own accommodation in the following circumstances:
- accommodation requested due to personal preference
- urgent accommodation need due to circumstances related to COVID19 and outside of their control. Accommodation will be provided for an immediate limited period until such time as a more permanent accommodation solution has been found including referral to WINZ.
2.3 Staff who are COVID positive with symptoms or close contacts/awaiting testing
- Staff in this category can stay in a hotel, however the hotel should be aware and comfortable to take someone who is or may be COVID positive.
- Staff should access their usual primary care or call health line support if they are unwell.
- Staff should not be placed in the quarantine hotels being used for international travellers or as part of community co-hort options for patients.
3. Delegation and reporting to NRHCC
Incident teams can authorise accommodation within their normal delegation authorities. Please keep a log of requests and costs and enter this in your weekly MoH return.
The cost of the rooms should be charged to the organisation’s cost code connected to the COVID-19 response as approved by the local IMT.
4. Accommodation Sourcing Process
Each DHB should stand up a process suitable to the scale and capacity of the IMT to manage the accommodation referral and booking process. You should communicate the process internally to your staff and provide guidance for line managers who may be having conversations with staff.
DHB IMTs should source accommodation options that provide the following:
- Residence style with shared facilities where staff can purchase or make their own meals
- Ensuite accommodation e.g. motel, serviced apartments where staff can purchase or make their own meals
- Motel or hotel single room accommodation, with meals supplied by accommodation in room
The logistics team can help with those arrangements if needed.
Please access accommodation options as follows:
- Internal accommodation already provided and set up for staff
- Where IMTs have identified hotels that suit the DHB needs, then they can progress with these arrangements.
- Contact FCM travel firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange local accommodation. The FCM email inbox is monitored Monday – Friday 8am – 5.30pm.
Outside of these times, please call the after-hours team on 0800 747 767 and they will be able to assist.
5. Guidance for staff using hotels
General hotel accommodation may be available to a range of health professionals and other essential workers and therefore members of staff of a number of organisations may be sharing common areas. We are therefore requesting that where possible staff:
- Minimise time in communal areas of the hotel including and corridors
- Where possible, to limit to 1 or 2 people at a time in lifts where possible, or to use the stairs if appropriate.
- Ideally eat in your room. Most hotels have moved to room service only.
- Hotels booked outside of your DHB’s process will not be paid for by the DHB
If staff access the mini bar in their hotel room can they please make arrangements to pay that directly to the accommodation provider.
Where food is not included in the room, staff are asked to purchase this from the nearest food outlet.