Essential HR

Covid-19 – Questions answered!

Thursday 23 April 2020

I start with a reminder – keep safe as you come into Level 3.  In the meantime – here are some answers and some questions!

Government-funded Consultancy – update on process
What happens if employment is terminated while you receive a subsidy for them?
When does thee 12 week subsidy period actually start
What are the impacts on Paid Parental Leave for those stood down?
What gets paid for ANZAC Day?
Do you need assistance with a Contact Tracing System?

 

Government Funded Consultancy

I now have my first client receiving this support – and at present they can take 10 days to fit you into their assessment process – the demand is that high.  Further I have had it confirmed that until you have been approved any work done will not be covered by the funding.  (I have an outstanding question with Grant Robertson requesting the Government backdate this to the date of application.)  This client is getting support both for documentation for a return to Level 3 and for any restructuring that may be needed as we come out of the subsidy period.  So get in quick if you want the support.

Just a reminder - for those of you wanting to make use of the Consultant funding, my service is called:

HR Advice on Changing staff numbers, hours, pay or tasks
under the Covid-19 Support Category


What happens when someone leaves and you have the subsidy for them?

  • If the Employer is terminating employment during the 12-week wage subsidy period then the balance of the Wage Subsidy would need to be returned (as a minimum) – and if you had applied for the subsidy after 4pm on March 27, you may need to acknowledge this as a breach – so you should always first seek approval from MSD.
  • If the Employee terminates their employment you may use the remaining subsidy towards other wage costs.
  • In cases where you receive more of the wage subsidy than what is required, then be prepared for repayment of the excess (this covers situations where you realise a mistake. You can exercise this by using the following email link below.

You can email COVID19subsidy_overpayment@msd.govt.nz to disclose any mistake or overpayment.

You will need to include the following information in your email: 

  • Business name
  • IRD number
  • New Zealand Business Number (NZBN), if you have one
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Postal address.
  • And advise the amount overpaid and why you need to pay it back.

 

When does the 12 weeks start and finish? 

We had a very specific reply from MSD on this one – the 12 weeks starts from the date of application.  So, for anyone like me, who may not know until April results are in, whether business is down 30%, applying in mid-May will mean the 12 weeks does not finish until mid-August.

 

What are the impacts of being paid the subsidy, and not working, on entitlement to Paid Parental Leave? 

At present it is quite possible that the IRD will still require the applicant to have been working for an average of 10 hours per week for 26 weeks of the preceding year.  It is, therefore, possible that if an employee is stood down for the 12 weeks of subsidy, they may as a result fail to reach this standard and could miss out on Paid Parental Leave.  I have requested Grant Robertson seek to get a parliamentary ruling that counts stood down weeks as a result of Covid as if they were working standard hours.   Watch this space.

 

ANZAC Day – with companies returning to full-time on Tuesday what gets paid for ANZAC day?

 This is quite clear – Monday 27th is still under Covid Alert level 4.  Accordingly, it is paid as for the Easter stat days and at the rate that an employee would have got for any other day during the lockdown.

 

Assistance with Contact tracing system

Contact tracing is something that is compulsory for certain industries, such as construction, at a level 3 COVID response. Other industries, such as hospitality, will likely require a solution in level 2.  I can’t help you, but Nick Winchester of Elixr has a solution that allows the user to complete the information on their own device, minimising cross contamination opportunities. It also keeps user data secure and private, while allowing administrators to access it from any location.  Interested contact info@elixr.co.nz

 

Essential HR here to help – and working from home. 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.