Essential HR

Covid-19 – Latest on Support and Actions you need to take

Tuesday 18th August 2020

As you know, Covid-19 had resurfaced in our community (the Resurgence) with Auckland now in a level 3 lockdown and the rest of us at Level 2 until August 26th.  But what if……..?

There are things you need to be doing now and things that you need to be preparing for.

In this update we cover:

- The Wage Subsidy Extension and the Resurgence Wage Subsidy
- Relaxation of Leave Support Scheme requirements
- Immediate actions you should be taking
- Urgent actions you should be considering

Wage Subsidies

The Wage Subsidy Extension (refer my updates on 14 May and 8 June) is an 8-week subsidy still available to assist with wage costs for employers for an 8-week period. This extension is available until 11.59pm on 1st September but can only be applied for if any previously approved wage subsidy has finished. Critical to this is that you must experience a 40% or greater decline in gross revenue in a 30-day period (compared with last year) – within the 40 days prior to you applying for it.
Note that the sudden drop in revenue in these two weeks may make a difference to your August comparison.

 The Resurgence Wage Subsidy is a two-week payment to help with wage costs during our raised alert levels and is available for two weeks from the date you apply.
Applications can be made from 1pm 21st August until 3rd September 2020.
Eligibility for this subsidy is also dependant on whether or not any previously applied for subsidies have finished or not. You will not be able to receive two separate subsidies at one time.
You are eligible for this subsidy if you have had, or expect to have, at least a 40% revenue drop, due to Covid-19, for any consecutive 14-day period between 12th August and 10th September 2020. This is compared to a similar period in 2019.

 For more information please see https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/resurgence-wage-subsidy/index.html#null

 Leave Support Scheme

This scheme is to help pay staff who cannot come to work because they are sick due to Covid-19, are instructed by a health authority or their GP to self-isolate, or because they cannot work from home (in a lockdown situation). You cannot receive this support if you are already receiving a wage subsidy for your employee.

 Revenue testing is not applicable after 1pm 21st August, but will be if you apply earlier.

 For more information, please see https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/leave-support-scheme/index.html

 Immediate Actions to Take

If the events of the last week have impacted your business, or are expected to impact your business, these are the actions you need to take:

  1. If any of your staff are told to stay home by a medical authority or their GP due to exposure or risk of exposure to Covid-19, apply for the Leave Support Scheme for the period they are off, unless you are already receiving a wage subsidy for them.
  2. Consider whether your revenue for August 2020 will be down 40% from August 2019 and apply for the wage subsidy if eligible. Make sure this is done by the cut off day of 1st September
  3. Prepare to measure your revenue for each 14-day period from August 12 to September 10 and compare with the same days in 2019 – if you find one that drops by 40% or more apply for the Resurgence Subsidy.

 Urgent Actions to Consider

If Auckland can go from a level 1 to level 3 lockdown in one day, so could we!  We need to be prepared and plan for what could happen.

I believe that there will be very little sympathy, from the courts, for any organisation that, in our current circumstances, has not considered their options and planned ahead for this risk.

Therefore, if there is any chance that a level 3 or 4 lockdown would mean that you had to pay your staff less than their normal 100% wages at their normal hours (or changes to any other term or condition of employment, such as a benefit), you should start consulting them on your proposed approach now.  This means at very least putting together a proposal on how you would act in such an event.  The critical thing here is that you cannot expect to be able to unilaterally reduce wage payments without having consulted. 

Consulting on a plan and proposal now does not mean that you have to carry out that proposal if you don’t need to. However, failure to plan and consult now on the potential need for change could leave you vulnerable.  We can help you put these letters together – and for those with Covid funding through the RBPN, this is a constructive way to use it.

“If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.” (Benjamin Franklin)

 

Essential HR are here to help.  For ongoing help, contact Mike on 027 2808546 or mike@essentialhr.co.nz and 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.