News

Key Strategies to Consider Before Leaving Level 4 Expand article
Contract article

On 20 April, the Government intends announcing its plans for lifting Level 4.  While nobody expects that to occur before 22 April, there is growing pressure from many quarters to move to Level 2 as soon as possible so the economy can start to flow.

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Key Differences in Wage Subsidy Obligations Expand article
Contract article

Your obligations under the wage subsidy scheme depend on whether you applied before or after 4pm on 27 March (ie date of application, not date of receipt of payment).  

 

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Essential Workers Leave Support Expand article
Contract article

The scheme focuses on three groups of workers in essential businesses:

  1. People who are self-isolating in accordance with public health guidance because they have COVID-19, or have come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 (or have a dependent they need to care for who is sick or self-isolating);
  2. People at higher risk* if they contract COVID-19,
  3. People who have household members who are at higher risk* if they contract COVID-19, to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to them.

*At risk groups are:

  • Those over 70
  • People with medical conditions: Underlying medical conditions increase vulnerability to COVID-19, including respiratory conditions, such as COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), heart conditions, high blood pressure, kidney problems and diabetes.
  • People undergoing a treatment for cancer and blood conditions that affect people’s immune systems and makes them more vulnerable to COVID-19.
  • Pregnant women, although its uncertain if pregnant women are impacted by COVID-19 in the same way as other people.
  • People without easy access to healthcare.
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Public Holidays Under Lockdown Expand article
Contract article

This month we have three public holidays:

  • 10 April – Good Friday
  • 13 April – Easter Monday
  • 25 April – Anzac Day.  This will transfer to Monday 27 April for people who don’t work on 25 April.
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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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