News

Balancing Competing Interests During Lockdown Expand article
Contract article

I have read a number of commentaries by politicians, bureaucrats, lawyers and others about how employers should be complying with their employment law obligations during the lockdown. It is clear that most of these people are not directly affected by the situation and have not had to deal with the reality of seeing their business rapidly disappear.

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Minister Clarifies Payment of Wage Subsidy to Employees Expand article
Contract article

Previously the Government’s advice was that employers must pay the full amount of wage subsidy to the employees for whom it was claimed. This created a situation where some employees could receive more than they otherwise would have if they had worked normally.

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Changes to the Wages Subsidy - The Simple Facts Expand article
Contract article

Since 4.00 pm on 27 March: 

  1. To obtain the subsidy you still need to establish a 30% drop in income, or be projecting that to occur in any month between now and June. 
  2. It is not compulsory to pay your employees 80% of their previous earnings.  However, if you receive the subsidy, you must use best endeavours to pay employees at least 80% of their pre-COVID-19 earnings for the 12 weeks period of the subsidy.
  3. However, if you can’t do that you must, as a minimum, pass on the entire subsidy to every employee for whom you claimed it.
  4. You must keep those employees employed for 12 weeks.
  5. The amounts are unchanged and paid in a lump sum covering a 12 weeks period.
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COVID-19 - Act Now To Protect Your Business Expand article
Contract article

It is obvious that the COVID-19 crisis will cause major damage to a very large number of businesses.  The most optimistic advice seems to be that this will run for at least 3 months, but even if that is the case, the recovery may take many more months, or even years in some cases.

The big question is what to do to limit the damage?

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Government Takes Further Steps To Reduce Scope of Hobbit Law Expand article
Contract article

The Government has recently introduced the Screen Workers Bill into Parliament.  The Bill does not repeal the so-called Hobbit Law, but is consistent with the recommendations from the joint working party recommendations last year.

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Coronavirus - What To Do Expand article
Contract article

The Coronavirus (now officially called Covid – 19) is a large family of viruses that are highly contagious, and recently confirmed as airborne, that can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases, which can be life threatening.   It therefore poses a serious health and safety risk and you should take active steps to manage the risks in your business.  The incubation period is 14 days, although Chinese researchers now say it could be up to 24 days.

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More Rights for Contractors? Expand article
Contract article

A lot is going on in the contractor space.  As discussed previously, the Labour Party manifesto promised that within its first 12 months in Government it would “introduce statutory support and legal rights for dependent contractors who are effectively workers under the control of an employer, but who do not have the legal protections currently provided to employees under the law”.

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Fair Pay Agreements - Consultation Process Expand article
Contract article

One day the CTU is complaining about the lack of progress on Fair Pay Agreements and the next the Government suddenly produces a consultation document.  Coincidence?  I don’t think so.  Then the Minister is at pains to talk about getting it right for the long term and then expects feedback on the consultation document is less than 40 days.

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Measles - What should you do? Expand article
Contract article

Measles is a highly contagious disease which can be life threatening and it therefore poses a serious risk to health and safety. All employers have an obligation under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 to take all practicable steps to manage any risk, which includes the risk of infection from measles.

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Fair Pay Agreements Debate Heats Up Expand article
Contract article

The CTU has been pushing for faster progress on FPAs.  The Government is clearly trying to slow this down by saying there will only be one or two FPAs during this term, because it knows this issue has a negative impact on business confidence.  The CTU cites security guards, cleaners and supermarket workers as being first cabs off the rank.

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Will changes to Hobbit Law affect other contractors? Expand article
Contract article

The Government has decided not to repeal the so-called Hobbit Law, but intends adopting most of the joint working party’s recommendations. The question is will there be implications for dependent contractors in other industries.

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Equal Pay Amendment Bill ex Select Committee Expand article
Contract article

Finally the Select Committee has reported back on this important Bill.

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