Covid-19 - A Reprise
Covid-19 – A reprise
Monday 15th February 2021
It is time you heard from me again – with Auckland back at Level 3 and the rest of us at Level 2 (albeit for only 3 days at this stage) it’s time for a reminder on COVID and a quick reference guide to where you can obtain help if needed. But there are also other important changes happening.
In this Update:
- South Island is now at level 2 until midnight Wednesday, and essentially this means being very careful – keep covid tracking, using sanitiser, washing hands, social distancing (2m from strangers and 1m otherwise), work from home if you can and wear a mask if on public transport. Refer here for detailed Level 2 instructions for businesses https://covid19.govt.nz/business-work-and-money/business/doing-business-at-alert-level-2/
- If you have staff who are, or who are caring for someone who is, high risk then you may need to refer them to this page: https://covid19.govt.nz/health-and-wellbeing/people-at-risk-of-covid-19/#alert-level-2-advice-for-at-risk-people
- Auckland is at level 3 – and anyone travelling into or out of the Auckland border will need paperwork from midnight Monday.
In case you have to go to level 3 or 4you should:
- Plan for staff to work from home; and
- Encourage staff to ensure they have the ability to go into lockdown – but not to panic-buy … as before, there will be enough as long as people don’t purchase selfishly; and
- Most importantly - plan to consult with staff over reducing pay during any lock down. In most cases level 2 will have limited business impact, but level 3 could be different, and this time round, if you expect to reduce pay below normal guaranteed levels you will need to have first consulted with your staff. So now is the time to plan for this and get your documentation sorted. You will need proper change consultation letters, and a clear idea of just how much you would seek to reduce pay by and for how long. I know it is easier to make that call once you know what support may be available from the government, but legally you won’t have that luxury. (We can help you prepare these).
- There is a Covid-19 Business Helpline – in the South island this is 0800 50 50 96 (0800 500362 in the North Island). They are likely to be very busy, but they can advise on financial support, questions to do with specific levels, and related general business advice. Information is found at https://covid19.govt.nz/business-work-and-money/business/business-helpline-and-resources/
- The Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme is still in place – refer https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/leave-support-scheme/index.html
- There is a short term leave support payment available to pay employers where an employee has to self-isolate (after being told to by a relevant authority) – it is $350 and can be claimed once per month for any employee. See https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/short-term-absence-payment/index.html#:~:text=The%20Short%2DTerm%20Absence%20Payment,line%20with%20public%20health%20guidance%20).
At this stage if you are losing money in your business or self-employed income, there does not appear to have been any guidance as yet on any financial support. Best for the three days to try and make other arrangements, but if it continues we can expect some guidance.
You will be aware that our government is making progress and completed consultation on their promise to increase sick leave from 5 to 10 days per annum. The bill is likely to be enacted over the next few months, but it will only take effect on an employee’s entitlement date – so it will be staggered through the year. Until then they still only have a right to 5 per annum.
Keep an eye out for tweaks to the bill. I spoke to the Select Committee (as did many others) and made a strong plea to limit part-timer’s rights to only gain an increase on a pro-rata basis.
Once it does get passed, you will need to get in touch with your payroll person as they will need to change each entitlement individually.
The times are a-changing and we are moving with them! You really needn’t worry about this in that service will continue seamlessly; but if you want to come and visit us in Christchurch – from Tuesday 23rd February we will be located:
- In Unit 12, 31 Stevens Street (opposite the top end of the old Jade Stadium).
- Together with Equation Limited – Nicole, we are simply thrilled to be joining you.
- A spacious location that includes meeting and seminar room – so you can still come to us.
- Same emails, same cell phones – but a new landline … and here’s the surprise – the number is still unknown!
So, for now please contact us by cell phone.
I’m happy for you to pass this on to others.