FMA Level 2 guidelines

The Government has announced that New Zealand will be moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 at 11:59pm on 13 May 2020. While it is still not business as usual,  Alert Level 2 will see an increase in business activity. The key, however, is to reduce the risk of transmission.

In response, the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has published guidelines (supported by WorkSafe) on how financial service businesses and staff should operate under Level 2. Click here to view the full FMA Alert Level 2 guidelines.

You can also read our COVID-19 Financial Services Roadmap here for more information.

Who needs to read it?  Why?

The FMA Level 2 guidelines are targeted at financial service businesses that require staff, customers or contractors to be physically present at the workplace.  Even if you’re not re-opening your office, we recommend you read the guidelines as the FMA provides measures that you should consider implementing going ahead.

Also, the regulators, your customers, and the community expect your business and staff to actively adhere to safety measures in place and to look out for one another’s health and safety when at work.

What does it cover?

The objective of Level 2 is to reduce the risk of transmission. Where possible, the FMA encourages businesses to work with employees to change practices and use alternative ways of working until everyone feels safe to return to work.

However, if a financial services business must re-open and requires the physical presence of staff, customers or contractors at the workplace during Level 2, it must:

  • minimise the risk of transmission and maintain a one metre distance between individuals;
  • take practical hygiene steps to avoid the spread of COVID-19 (e.g. supply soap, hand sanitiser, split meal breaks, clean surfaces, etc);
  • set up contract tracing measures (i.e. sign-in and sign-out, record interactions and floor access) and have a centralised record of workers working together (including any visits to customers’ premises);
  • ensure workers do not attend if they have symptoms of feeling unwell or are being tested for COVID-19;
  • ensure workers do not attend if they have had contact with anyone displaying respiratory symptoms, are being tested for COVID-19, or have a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19; and
  • advise workers who are, or come into close contact with someone who is of higher risk, to take additional precautions when leaving home.

Our view

We agree with the FMA’s approach for financial service businesses to apply judgement and common sense. Level 2 is still not business as usual and every person plays a role in minimising the spread of COVID-19.

Therefore, if possible, businesses should continue to use alternative ways of working. That way, you can minimise the risk of transmission and workplaces can focus efforts towards recovering business activity and planning for a post COVID-19 world.

We also encourage businesses to have ongoing conversations with their workers to improve practices and ensure that everyone feels safe when returning to work.

What next?

If you have any questions in relation to the FMA’s Level 2 guidelines or are unsure how the guidelines affect your business, please contact one of our experts.

Who can help