Covid-19 – Level 4
Thursday 26 March 2020
Essential HR here to help – and now safely at our homes. For ongoing help, you can contact Mike on 027 2808546 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Beccy on email@example.com or 027 2909070 – 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.
Today I have a couple of key messages:
- Confirmed - Critical support services to ensure businesses and workers can continue working from home are considered to be essential. This includes functions such as IT and Payroll.
- Info on https://covid19.govt.nz/government-actions/covid-19-alert-level/essential-businesses/ This site has been significantly expanded and now answers many questions.
If you still have any queries around essential services you can get in touch with the central government team at 0508 377 388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paying Staff working from home:
- Working normal duties – clearly in these situations they work normal hours and get paid as usual.
- Working some duties only – You must get them to keep a record of the actual hours they work – the legislation will still apply, and you will need time and wage records for this period. I recommend that you agree in writing with any staff you have working in part from home, as to what they are expected to do and how much time they are expected to spend doing it.
- Topping up with leave – it is really important that you only pay leave where your employee agrees – you cannot force someone to use leave. The government have been clear in saying they would like employers to pay 80% (topping up the subsidy themselves) – but this is not mandatory – just “best efforts”.
- What if you cannot get the subsidy because your revenue is not expected to drop by 30%? In this circumstance I believe the expectation is that you would be able to pay 80% of someone’s pay because you still have the income. However I would love to know if anyone has had a specific ruling on this – I haven’t got one yet.
- 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 in 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. Individual teams can get free use of Zoom meetings or (if you have Microsoft 365) Microsoft Teams.
- Be aware that your staff may have all kinds of unusual needs and be ready to support them – even if that is no more than listening to them. If they need help of any sort and you don’t know how to advise them, give us a call and we will help you find the right support.