More Challenges ahead for 2022

by | Mar 8, 2022 | Covid-19, News & Events

Well, late 2021 felt like there may be light at the end of the tunnel, but then we heard Omricon, and the reality is that it is unlikely that Omricon will be the last variant.  On top of Covid:

  1. the Government has just announced that the minimum wage will increase a further 6% to $21.20 from the 1st April 2022 (a 20% increase since we started the first lockdown)
  2. A Fair Pay agreement system has been proposed which is designed to set industry-wide pay rates
  3. Matariki as an additional Public holiday has passed the first reading, and is currently at Select Committee stage. I.e. this is not yet legislation, and may yet fail at the second or third reading, however, my anticipation is that this will pass.

So, all in all, 2022 is going to be another rollercoaster ride for employers.

Living with COVID
With 981 new cases on 14th February, the likelihood of your workplace coming into contact with COVID in some shape or form over the coming months is high.
At the point of publication, it seems unlikely that we will go back into full lockdown and/or see the return of the Wage Subsidy.  If for no other reason than the Government simply cannot afford it!

However, there is still the following subsidies available:

  1. Short-term absence payment – Key points of note:
    1. $359 one-off payment
    2. You can only apply once every 30-day period per employee (unless medically advised they need another test).
    3. Only for employees who cannot work from home
  2. Leave support scheme – Key points of note:
    1. $600/week for Full-time and $359/Week for part-time
    2. Only available if they need to isolate for 4 + days
    3. Only for employees who cannot work from home
    4. You can’t apply for a 2nd payment until the employee has had to isolate of 11+ days (i.e. first 3 days = no payment, next 7 days = 1 payment etc)

However, as with the Wage subsidy, you still have to try your hardest to pay them as per normal, or at least 80% of normal pay and the minimum of the subsidy received.
Protecting your business continuity

The rules around who has to isolate and for how long are changing as we move through this process.  However, to protect your business continuity, and protect the H&S of your staff, you need to consider what would happen if (when) a member of staff tests positive.  How many close contacts would then have and how do you minimise that number?
Some simple steps you could take are:

  1. Operate under Level 4 protocols (i.e. everyone working from home) if that is viable
  2. Have split teams who don’t come into physical contact.  That way only a proportion of your workforce would be taken out at a time
  3. Make all meetings via zoom/teams etc and only have face to face meetings when absolutely necessary
  4. Close off “common” areas such as lunchrooms and direct staff to have lunch at their desks or off-site
  5. Continue to use physical distancing protocols for deliveries etc
  6. Talk to your staff about how they are interacting in their personal time.  Though you cannot control what someone does in their personal time, having honest discussions about the potential impact of them being at a “super-spreader” event (operated within the rules) may make people think twice before they go.  Further, if an employee acts in a manner that deliberately puts the company and co-workers at risk, such as attending an illegal gathering, this may well be a disciplinary matter.

2022 Free Webinar Programme
I am continuing the free webinar (on the last Friday of each month at 10am) and here is the programme for 2022:

  1. February 25th 10am – Non Fiscal Benefit options – With a tight labour market, there is always the risk that someone is going to be offered more money than you can afford.  But what other benefits can you offer to attract and retain good people?
  2. March 25th 10am – Performance Improvement Plans.
  3. April 29th 10am – Disciplinary process 
  4. May 27th 10am – Non-traditional Recruitment Methods 
  5. June 24th 10am – Personal Grievances – what they are and how to manage “that letter”
  6. July 29th 10am – Assessing your business to decide what change is required
  7. Aug 26th 10am – Restructure and Redundancy
  8. Sept 30th 10am – Assessing Culture fit
  9. Oct 28th 10am – Exit Interviews
  10. Nov 25th 10am – Managing the festive season

We are here to help

We are all navigating some very interesting times at the moment, but we are here to help so give me a call on 021 741 544 if you need to talk over your situation.

Contact Us

957 Paihia Road, Opua
Northland, 0282

0800 HRtoolkit