Covid-19 – Level 1 – More Wage Subsidies; loans and Parental Leave payments
Monday 8th June 2020
Let’s celebrate – but carefully!
Good news all round! Back to level 1 from tonight; increased eligibility for the extended wage subsidy; extensions for interest-free loan applications and we got some answers regarding Parental Leave entitlements for those who have been unable to work due to Covid-19.
OK – so in terms of how we live – all restrictions are basically lifted – just be careful. But what about business? Here are some thoughts:
- All staff should now be back at work as old normal – there is no longer any need for people to stay away because of those at high risk
- All employment agreements are back in action – if you need to pay less than in their agreement while you are paying wage subsidies, you need to have that signed off with staff.
- Staff may still be very wary or may want to stick to some of their more flexible “working from home” experiences – you need to be understanding and enter into discussions to see what may be able to work best for them and your business
- Although we have our freedoms back, we don’t have all our customers and suppliers back – so businesses may have a lot of adjusting to do and new levels may take a while to settle down – keep talking to staff and taking advice on how best to manage this.
- The government have announced that you will only have to prove a revenue drop of 40% (not 50%) to qualify for the extended wage subsidy.
- This will be available for a period of 12 weeks from 10th June and will cover 8 weeks.
- Revenue loss is now to be calculated from a 30-day period within 40 days immediately prior to the application date (but beginning no earlier than 10 May 2020) compared to the closest comparable period of last year. This will give you a few days to do your revenue comparisons. If you have any questions about how to do this, contact us.
If you have cash flow problems as a small business and have not yet done so, you still have time to apply for the interest free loan (for a year – if not repaid by then it will attract interest at 3%). You now have until July 24 to make application (extended from 12 June).
The IRD confirmed with us that where the legislation says that, to be eligible for paid parental leave (PPL), an employee must “work” at least 10 hours a week for 26/52 weeks of the year, time where they were receiving the wage subsidy is classified as “work”. This includes those who were receiving the wage subsidy but were physically unable to return to work due to the nature of the business under Covid restrictions.
They do advise that, when applying for Paid Parental Leave, the employee attach a cover letter to the application to explain that, between X and Y dates, they were on a wage subsidy due to Covid-19. The hours worked while unable to return to work would be considered to be those worked immediately before lockdown.
If a person is made redundant prior to going on maternity leave, they will still be entitled to PPL so long as they have worked/been paid for at least 10 hours over 26 out of 52 weeks of the prior year.
At the moment, the 100% funded Regional Business Partners Network assistance has been exhausted, however, if you need funding to help cover your consulting fees from us, it is probably best to approach the RPBN and seek Capability Development Funding (small businesses only) – and request Essential HR services: Minimising the Risk of a PG – understanding process needs and taking proactive steps to manage staff appropriately and
One-on-One Training - Implementing good HR management practices
This may be particularly useful if planning for a restructure to tie in with the end of the extended wage subsidy.
Essential HR are here to help – we are back in our offices and operating as normal! For ongoing help, contact Mike on 027 2808546 and email@example.com or Beccy on firstname.lastname@example.org 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.