With little more than 48 hours to prepare for a nationwide shutdown the race is on to make sure you're in the best position possible for business continuity over the next four weeks (at least).
Communication with your staff is more critical than ever as we face so much uncertainty ahead. So lets start with what is certain:
- From 11.59pm Wednesday 25 March 2020 New Zealand will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 4 – the highest level.
- From an employment perspective this means all staff from businesses that are not Essential Businesses must go home and self-isolate, only leave the house if absolutely necessary (supermarket, banking, pharmacy), not have interactions with others outside the household, and any exercise that gets carried out in public needs to make sure it does not involve getting closer than 2m to any other person.
- The cap on the wage subsidy has now been lifted. Applications can be made at www.workandincome.co.nz
- The Government is also working on new income support measures for all workers "above and beyond the Wage Subsidy scheme".
- The definitions of Essential Businesses and those who support them can be found here www.covid19.govt.nz
- All other businesses are expected to close over the next 48 hours by 11.59pm this Wednesday 25 March 2020.
Recommended actions for businesses about to shutdown:
- Communicate with all staff about their work for the next four weeks (at least).
- Update all staff about the subsidies you're applying for, inform them that the Government is looking at other support measures, and also let them know about any other leave they could apply for and any payments you might make to them.
- Make arrangements for staff to work from home where possible and practicable.
- Make sure you have current contact details for all your workforce including mobile phone numbers, email addresses and an alternative contact.
Take care out there (and at home), be nice to yourself and others, and remember we will get through this.
The above is just a starting point and many more questions will continue to arise. We'll update you all again tomorrow but in the interim if you have urgent questions please get in touch with the team 06 878 5454 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Official sources of COVID-19 information
- The New Zealand Government's Official Source of Information
- Hawke's Bay COVID-19 Response from Hawke's Bay Business Hub
- COVID-19 Updates from Hawke's Bay Chamber of Commerce
- PlanA Consulting COVID-19 Information for Businesses
- MBIE – The Kiwi Business Boost
- MBIE – COVID-19 Information For Businesses
- Ministry of Health coronavirus up-to-date guidance
- Ministry of Health workforce pandemic influenza guidance
- Ministry of Health coronavirus questions and answers
- Ministry of Health coronavirus self-isolation guidance
- Ministry of Health coronavirus advice for travellers
- Employment during and after disasters
- Business.govt.nz emergency planning
- Worksafe workplace preparedness for novel coronavirus
- Protect yourself against coronavirus poster
- Protect yourself against coronavirus poster - simplified Chinese
- For any further questions about employment rights and responsibilities, contact Employment New Zealand