Covid-19 – Clarifications
Wednesday 25 March 2020
Essential HR here to help. For ongoing help, best is to contact Mike on 027 2808546 or email@example.com – but if you phone our landline 03 6590377 you can leave a message that gets delivered to us automatically. Please bear with us if you can’t get straight through – we are getting many calls! I’m happy for you to pass this on to others.
If you need to conference call, we are all set up with Zoom.
Key Contact Details:
- The list of Essential Services can be found at: https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/#essential-businesses This list will be dynamic and there is a list of specific decisions taken by cabinet (like The Warehouse is not essential!).
- Non-essential Services must close their premises.
- If you need health advice, especially to check out your symptoms – contact Healthline 0800 358 5453. Please do not contact this number for other reasons – it delays health advice to those needing it.
- If you need advice on financial support packages – check the dedicated website https://covid19.govt.nz/.
- If you need to talk to someone about government support – there is a dedicated number for answering questions 0800 779 997.
- In line with the raising of the alert level to 4, Immigration New Zealand have advised that all those on temporary visas that are due to expire between 1 April and 9 July 2020 will have their visas extended automatically until late September. I understand Immigration offices will be closed – further info available at: https://www.immigration.govt.nz/about-us/covid-19/coronavirus-update-inz-response
- I have no idea how the police will enforce the lock down, but it is quite possible people driving around may get stopped and questioned – a card or letter confirming they work for you as an essential service may be a good idea – at least two of my clients are doing this.
- If you have questions as to whether or not you are Essential contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Paying Staff in Non-Essential Services:
Can I work?
- Not from an office/business location - “Non-essential businesses must now close their premises”. But it is quite possible to work from home if you need to.
Can I make my staff work?
- If they can work from home, you can ask them to continue – especially if you continue to pay them their normal pay. More normally this is required only for partial working, in which case you would ideally agree with them both on how much they are working and how much you are paying them; but this would need to be by agreement.
Must I make up the 80%?
- You do not have to do this, but you are required to use your best efforts to pay them 80% - ideally use your own resources to top up the subsidy, but otherwise you can get the employee to agree to use leave to do so.
- The government have announced loans for small to medium businesses (turnover $250k to $80m. For details please refer https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/mortgage-holiday-and-business-finance-support-schemes-cushion-covid-impacts
And two quick tips:
- Keep paying bills through this period – small businesses like all of ours need the cash to keep flowing – it would be so sad to see businesses fold because we stopped paying each other.
- Make sure you can contact your staff while they are off work – let’s remember we all need encouragement and together we can get through – Kia kaha New Zealand.