Essential HR

Covid-19 – Breaking news – Steps needed to Unlock!

Friday 17 April 2020

You will all get this as you are heading into a weekend, at the end of which we will hear whether or not we head into Level 3 at the end of Thursday.

The big questions are what you need to do to prepare for unlocking – it is clear that it is not intended to be a free for all, but very much a safety-managed process.  So, what sort of things should you be doing?

Forgive me if some of these are repeats, but some things are clarifying and here is a list of things I think you need to be considering:

  1. Just what are your business needs right now?

    a. Bear in mind the distancing restriction and lack of face-to-face contact, are you able and do you need to be back at work location?
    b. What business are you likely to have?
    c. What staff do you need to meet those needs?

  2. To get your people in place legally operating legally you will need to do several things – and these are clarifying daily, so this is not comprehensive:

a. Register with the Regional Business Partners Network at https://app.regionalbusinesspartners.co.nz/Business/SelfRegister – this way you will be able to make use of whatever Covid-19 support is available in a range of different business consultancies.  It is likely to take a good week for them to process an application and, currently, support can only be granted for services that are delivered after the support is granted.  When you get into their system you will find a range of support for covid-19, and mine will be there once I can get them to confirm it, which also takes time!  It should give you a 100% discount – at least up to a certain level.  When you register, the service I am seeking to provide is the process of managing staff expectations through this change, and quite seriously it is likely to only need to be a few hours (which may help you when talking to the change advisor).

b. Develop a Covid-19 Health and Safety Plan.  This will be essential for any business not just operating from home.  The entire level is being run under the auspices of Worksafe and to have anyone working outside of home means you must have got sign off, from those staff at work, on a H&S plan that addresses all covid-19 related risks (including 1m distancing in vehicles and on sites).  I understand we will not need to register with anyone though.  The Employers Chamber are coming up with a plan today, which I understand will be available on https://www.cecc.org.nz/CECC_Public/BusinessSupport/COVID-19_Resources.aspx

c. Check with your own industry organisations as many of them I am told are developing some useful guidance – but you will need to seriously customise them to your own detailed workplace.

d. Communicate with your staff.  I have a template letter that I am customising for clients to help direct hours of work and pay levels for staff as you come out of lockdown.  Many cannot continue to pay at lockdown levels without work being done, this may require some consultation, even if brief.  But more than that you may need staff sign off on their health as well as on your H&S plan.

The sooner we all start planning the sooner we can make things happen.  Any questions call me on 027 2808546 – or you could try the CECC website https://www.cecc.org.nz/