Despite a patch today of relative calm in the course of these extraordinary few days, many New Zealand businesses are already feeling the stress of having to morph to meet the challenge of the Coronavirus pandemic. There is no doubt that the business and service landscape of Aotearoa New Zealand will look very different in the new world yet to emerge once the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
In the coming weeks, WasteMINZ will be bringing you a series of online seminars and interactive workshops to help you navigate the ‘new normal’. We’ll be starting with a teach-in from mental health expert Sue Kohn Taylor next Monday 6 April 2020 at 2pm, on how to adapt to working from home (more details on how to sign up to follow soon).
In the meantime, here are some resources to support you during these seismic shifts in our businesses.
Government wage subsidy scheme
The Government has made changes to the wage subsidy scheme to help keep businesses and workers connected during this unprecedented time. These changes apply from 4pm Friday 27 March.
Businesses accessing the scheme must still undertake best endeavours to pay employees 80% of their pre-COVID-19 income. Where that is not possible – in particular where a business has no activity whatsoever due to the shutdown and workers are not working any hours – they must pass on at least the whole value of the wage subsidy to each affected worker.
Businesses must undertake to keep employees in employment for the period of the subsidy.
The original sick leave scheme is being folded into this updated wage subsidy scheme.
For essential workers, the Government is working on arrangements for those in essential work who require sick leave due to COVID-19.
The wage subsidy is $585.80 a week for full-time workers (who worked 20 or more hours per week before COVID-19) and $350 a week for part-time workers (fewer than 20 hours). It will continue to be paid out in a lump sum covering the 12 weeks, meaning a $7,029.60 payment per full time worker.
Tax relief and income assistance
Tax relief and income assistance is available to people affected by the downturn in business due to the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus). The Government has developed a range of ways to help depending on your circumstances. If you have a tax agent, they should also be able to help.
“If your business is unable to pay its taxes on time due to the impact of COVID-19, we understand – you don’t need to contact us right now. Get in touch with us when you can, and we’ll write-off any penalties and interest. However, it will help if you continue to file. This information is used to make correct payments to people and to help the Government respond to what is happening in the economy.”
Running your business from home
Some of our members are already used to running their business from home, but for others this may have come upon them as a shocking necessity. You may have gone from being one of a group to operating as a sole trader. There can be advantages to each scenario. Here are some things you might not have had time to think about as you set up your home office or workplace.
Watch out for more from us to help you in your professional lives during these time of change, and please let us know your thoughts below the blog.