Essential HR

Covid-19 – Going to Level 2 – we hope! Time to prepare.

Thursday 7 May 2020

I start with a reminder – Play it Safe.  In the meantime – here are some key aspects of the guidelines related to coming down to Level 2!

Guidelines for Level 2
Implications for businesses returning
Guidelines for specific industries
Other guidelines that may have an impact
What to do before level 2 is effective
Do you need help with free HR support or an interest-free loan?

Guidelines for Level 2

These can be found on the main Covid website: https://covid19.govt.nz/alert-system/alert-level-2/#workplaces-and-businesses

 My understanding of Jacinda’s key points:

  1. The decision to go to Level 2 has not yet been taken, and when it is, we may see a phased return – wait for Monday’s announcement.
  2. All public health measures around hygiene, cleaning, staying home if at all sick remain
  3. Physical distancing of 2m will remain with strangers – but can come closer (ideally to 1m) with those you are closer too and where contact tracing will be possible.

 

What are the implications for businesses returning? 

It will be OK to return to your offices and to return to working in people’s homes or with the person themselves … as long as you can comply with principles around hygiene, cleaning, PPE, and specific guidelines put in place.  The expectation is that hospitality, personal care, retail industries will all be back.

Are there guidelines for specific industries? 

There will be specific guidelines for domestic cleaners,hairdressers, beauticians and the like.  We do not have them yet, but they will include wearing PPE and will require sensible levels of minimum contact and I expect it will be only one person within the bubble. 

There are also specific guidelines for hospitality – requiring compliance with 3 S’s: You must be able to Seat everyone; physical distancing will be a requirement for those seated, and a Single Server for each table – no patrons going up to counters.

What other guidelines may affect our business? 

You can travel further – for local tourism; to visit relatives; for specific business tasks – but not to join large gatherings

You can expand bubbles -  see family and friends, but broadly respect similar sorts of guidelines that apply to hospitality.

Schools will be open – however children will be expected to stay home if they are even slightly sick; and on-line education will remain in place to enable children being isolated to remain so.

So, what sort of thing should I be doing before level 2 is effective? 

  • Decide – do you need to reopen an office?
  • If so, do you have your Covid-19 health plan ready and have you determined how to maintain the right sort of physical distancing between staff and with customers/suppliers?  Worksafe have a template. https://worksafe.govt.nz/dmsdocument/27557-covid-19-safety-plan-template-word-version/latest
  • What level of business can you return to?  If it is not full strength you may need to consult with staff as to what hours and tasks they can come back to – in good faith you cannot necessarily just make a decision and tell staff.
  • Determine how you can achieve the flexibility necessary to comply with parents having to stay home because they or their child are sick (even slightly) – which will be far more often than before.

What to do if you need help with HR processes or with cash? 

We can help you manage the process of partial returning with consultation (albeit limited) or imparting flexibility.  If you have less than 50 staff you can still register for free advice and support through the Regional Business Partner’s network.  We are getting a number of clients approved for $1-2,000.

And if cash is a real problem – the IRD will have interest-free loans of $10,000 to be paid back in a year – available from 13 May (I understand that eligibility criteria are similar to those for the wage subsidy).

 

Essential HR here to help – and will be working from home and office come level 2 – will be able to come and see you!  For ongoing help, you can contact Mike on 027 2808546 or mike@essentialhr.co.nz or Beccy on beccy@essentialhr.co.nz or 027 2909070 – and 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.