Davenports Harbour Lawyers are fully operational, working remotely while Auckland is in Alert Level 3.

Our staff members are available to offer help, guidance and support with any personal or business legal matters during this time. If you have any questions we are more than happy to help, please do not hesitate to contact us.

We hope you are well and stay safe.

The Team at Davenports 

Employers: what are the next steps 

 

Firstly, we hope you and your families are safe. 

We understand that this is a difficult time and that many of you are still be working through logistics of how the lock-down period is going to work for you and your business.

If you have not already done so, we recommend that you urgently carry out an analyse of your fixed costs and see where you may be able to wipe, reduce or defer those costs in order to minimise your overheads during the lock-down period. Landlords are an obvious first port of call in relation to rent reduction and we have a bulletin coming out tomorrow which deals directly with this issue. If you need urgent assistance with this, please call Jeremy Parsons on 09 915 4381

In terms of your employees, these are the things that you now need to be thinking about:

  • Working from home: If your business is continuing to operate with staff working from home, we recommend having a working from home policy in place (which covers, among other things, the health and safety obligations of both parties).
  • Wage Subsidy and using “best efforts” to pay staff 80% of their normal income: The purpose of the wage subsidy is to ensure there is a viable business at the end of this lock-down period. The government is anticipating that you cannot continue to pay your employees 100% of their usual wages when most businesses have no revenue during this lock-down period. To apply for this subsidy you will need to declare that you have used you "best efforts" to pay your staff 80% of their normal income. If you are unsure about how to apply this criteria to your situation, or cannot pay 80% of normal income to your employees during the lock-down period please urgently get in touch.  
  •  Restructure/potential redundancies: If you are concerned about whether you need to restructure and potentially disestablish positions in your business now, please contact us to discuss.
  • Annual Leave: We understand some employers are seeking to have their employees take annual leave during the lock-down period. Keep in mind the following things:
    • You cannot force employees to immediately take their annual leave (but you can, after 14 days' notice to the employees of this requirement)
    • The wage subsidy cannot be used to pay out annual leave entitlement 
  • Seek Agreement: Employment laws still apply so you must seek agreement on any wage reduction with your employees, once you have decided what payment plan you wish to put in place during lock-down period. 
  • Audit: Once you have decided how you are to pay your staff during the lock-down period, please prepare a thorough file note/business case setting out your reasons. This will be crucial particularly if you cannot pay employees at least 80% of their normal pay but you are still applying for the wage subsidy. Your file note/ business case can then be used to justify your application and position down the track, should you ever be audited by the Ministry. 
  • Easter: You will need to pay staff for their public holidays at their usual rate in accordance with the Holidays Act 2003.

We realise this is an unprecedented and stressful time. We are here to help so please feel free to get in touch.