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Council chief executive Sue Bidrose said yesterday the council continued to pay its staff, but the Southern District Health Board offered training "and looks after their working conditions and instructs them on the tasks".
The council had assigned new roles to some of its workforce under Covid-19 alert Level 4 lockdown conditions, which allow for only "essential services" to continue in New Zealand for its duration.
"We are keeping in touch with the DHB and will continue to provide staff to assist as requested. We don’t know how many might go, but we are comfortable this is ‘essential services’," Dr Bidrose said.
Up to half of the council staff involved, of the workforce of 800 full-time equivalents, continued to provide the core council services of drinking water, wastewater treatment, rubbish collection and the like — as well as the "back office functions" that supported that work.
But a third of the council’s staff would work from home to provide other council roles including "statutory functions, responding to urgent requests", including some consent work for the Dunedin Hospital rebuild.
But the staff that had been shifted to work on the Southern District Health Board’s contact tracing team was from the 15% of the council’s workforce that had "public facing" roles that could not be done from home, she said.
Some in that group had been shifted into essential core services.
"We’re also working with the civil defence ‘welfare’ function to have our people help with welfare services to the community where this is needed," she said.