Don’t Panic – We’ve Got this NZ!
Government Support Options
Here are some Spicey approved links for online support to get you, your team, and your business through this current lockdown …
The Government have updated the Tools and Advice or their website. Now including:
- Managing the impact of COVID-19 cases at your business -Have a plan for COVID-19, particularly the Omicron variant, affecting your workers, suppliers or customers.
- Short-Term Absence Payment – available to employers to pay workers who follow public health guidance and stay home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers.
- Leave Support Scheme -available to employers to help pay employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work from home. It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers.
- Small business cash flow loan scheme – Under the Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme the Government provides loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs
- Having an NZBN could make applying for financial support easier
- Financial support tool
The Government has updated its information regarding their vaccination assessment tool. If your business or workplace isn’t covered by a government mandate for COVID-19 vaccination, you can choose to do a risk assessment to see if you can require work to be carried out by vaccinated workers, on health and safety grounds. Click here for more information.
Even if your business has implemented a worker vaccination requirement, you will still need to consider whether any further measures should be implemented to minimise the risk of COVID-19 at work, including complying with other Government requirements. Click here to see Worksafe’s enforcement approach.
The Government have recently announced an economic support package to support businesses affected by higher alert levels during the new COVID-19 Protection Framework. The great news is you can access our HR support and guidance for this as we’re Registered RBPN Service Providers. Contact us for more info or register your interest for this financial support via the link on the RBPN COVID-19 support page.
The Government has announced an update to the COVID-19 vaccination mandates, now requiring all employees at businesses where customers need to show Vaccination Certificates, to be vaccinated themselves. This will apply to hospitality and “close-contact” businesses such as hairdressers. Also announced were:
- a legislated risk assessment process to be applied when considering whether to mandate vaccination in a particular workplace
- a minimum four-week notice period for workers whose employment is terminated because they choose not to be vaccinated and
- employers now being required to give paid time off work for an employee to be vaccinated
Here’s the Government Press Release outlining these changes in more detail, all of which take effect in the new COVID-19 Protection Framework.
The Legal Lowdown
As we are returning to the office, ensuring your team are aware of any COVID-19 policies is essential.
The Spice Team discuss key insights with ELMO Software’s Kenny Addison, including:
- Consulting, communicating and engaging with employees when developing your vaccination policy
- Managing employee vaccination information
- The Privacy Act and its implications for your vaccination policy and processes
- Key considerations when building flexible working policies
Here’s a great opinion piece written by Susan Hornsby-Geluk, managing partner at employment law firm Dundas Street, outlining how employers could handle requests for vaccination exemptions in the workplace. Check it out and give us a shout if you need any more guidance.
James Trevelyan from Trevelyan’s Kiwifruit Packhouse in Te Puke was on TVNZ Breakfast discussing their business’ approach to encourage their 700+ team to get vaccinated. It’s a great example of an employer being pro-active in the vaccination space whilst also being respectful to others views. It could be a case study to model if you are thinking of encouraging vaccinations in your workplace.
Worksafe – assessing whether a specific role needs to be performed by a vaccinated worker
Employment law trio from Chapman Tripp with comprehensive advice covering off quite a few scenarios for employers relating to COVID vaccination requirements in the workplace
Mental Wellbeing Resources
And most importantly… make sure you are looking after you and your family’s mental wellbeing.
There are some great online resources available …
COVID-19 Wellbeing Information
Mental Health Foundation of NZ – 5 Ways to Wellbeing Resources
Xero – Xero has a lot of useful free support resources for businesses on their website. We really love their Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) which offers Kiwi small business owners, their employees and family members access to free and confidential counselling and support until the end of the year. This is regardless of weather you are a Xero customer, or not. This type of support in your workplace wellbeing toolkit is invaluable in times like these. Make use of it if you need to.
Mentemia – download the free Mentemia app and check out their COVID Support Collection for practical tips for dealing with uncertainty and stress, and many ways to take care of your wellbeing.
Just a Thought – Staying on Track is a free online course designed to help you tackle worry and stress, so you can take care of your mental and emotional wellbeing.
Lauren Parsons Wellbeing Specialist – check out all the useful resources Lauren has on her FB and LinkedIn pages. If you’re a business leader you may also want to check out and join her Thriving Leaders Community which is a no-cost group where the vision is simply to keep leaders connected, inspired and equipped to thrive personally and to lead flourishing teams.
Online Training and Development
Are you looking for ways for you and your team to use your Lockdown time effectively? Why not check out these online T&D options below …
NZ Digital Boost Program – Need to sharpen up your digital skills? The NZ Digital Boost Program is a great way to learn and develop new skills.
Site Safe – Are you a Tradie and can’t work from home at the moment? Check out Site Safe’s Online T&D options to keep that learning going.
TED Talks– Looking for inspiration or motivation for business ideas? TED Talks are a great way to spark this inspiration and ideas you need to take your business to the next level!
Keep looking after each other and we’ll get through this together (again!).
And if in doubt, don’t hesitate to Contact Us today!