Alliance Group is standing down some of its meat workers so it can better put into practice the physical distancing of workers at its plants.
The company said less than 20 per cent of its workforce would be affected by the stand-downs and those that were stood down would receive a daily payment of $120 and remain employed.
Alliance Group general manager of people and safety Chris Selbie said the company had adopted rules and standards given to them by the Meat Industry Association and approved by the Ministry for Primary Industries.
"This protocol, which is designed to keep our people safe and ensure our operations do not contribute to the spread of Covid-19, includes a requirement for physical distancing along with measures such as Personal Protective Equipment to protect employees."
He said that meant the plant's processing capacity had to be reduced. An agreement with the Meat Workers Union had been reached.
"We have worked with the Meat Workers Union to create stand-down arrangements, which ensure employment is continued and people receive payment throughout this period."
The voluntary stand-down "applies to less than 20 per cent of Alliance Group's workforce," Selbie said, and those not working would receive $120 per day and remain available to fill gaps as needed so long as they were not defined as vulnerable or having underlying medical conditions.
Alliance has applied to receive the Government's wage subsidy to support these arrangements.
"It is important to note this is not a lay-off," Selbie emphasised.
"The Meat Workers Union supports our commitment to keeping our people safe and preserving jobs.
"Once the lockdown period finishes, people on stand-down will return to work as normal."
Last Thursday Alliance said it had to close one of its processing rooms at its Lorneville plant while awaiting a Covid-19 test result of one of its workers there.
A spokesman said the test came back negative and the plant was fully operational again.