There’s never a dull moment in HR. Although most moments are good, there are times when things are definitely not. Unfortunately the rule book for dealing with tricky HR situations hasn’t been written (yet), so if you find yourself struggling with an employee problem and wondering what to do, think about applying the emergency medicine principle of ‘triage’ to assess the scale and urgency of the problem and how to deal with it.

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On 1st April the minimum wage increases and a new top income tax rate takes effect. Here is a snapshot of the changes and a quick checklist for you to tick off before April rolls around. It’s nothing complicated, but it needs to be done this month. Read more

With the job market still buoyant, we are finding there’s plenty of recruitment happening through a combination of employees moving jobs and businesses looking to gear up for the future.

As a recruiter for your business, are you confident about running interviews? Read more

The government announced last year they will be making changes to leave entitlements.

What can we expect?
The indications are that: Read more

A friend of mine has a wonderful way of describing people who are off-the-scale demanding; the type who always seem to “think it’s unfair and want, want, want”.
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If you are like me, you’re probably thinking the world seems to be rather preoccupied with Covid-19 right now. Quite frankly I’m in need of something a little more light-hearted and that’s where the HR bucket list comes in.
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The Return to Work (RTW) Plan
If an employee needs to take an extended break from work due to illness, injury or surgery, a RTW Plan is a positive tool to help them return to work safely, productively and in the right mindset.

Having a plan ensures you and your employee are on the same page and gives everyone some structure and something to work towards.

Having a policy to support your planning is not essential, but it can be beneficial as it lets your employees know that your business supports return to work plans. A policy should clearly outline what is required from you and your employee in the event of an extended absence from work.

Be proactive
As soon as it’s apparent the employee will be away from work, sit down with them and get an understanding of how long they are likely to be off work.

Not all situations require a RTW Plan. We generally recommend doing a plan if the expected time away from work is greater than two weeks or if there will be a reduction or change in their ability to return to usual duties (short or long-term) as a result of the employee’s illness/injury/surgery.

If the expected time is more than three months, talk with an HR Adviser as you may need to consider significant changes to manage the workload or whether termination of employment is appropriate.

The paperwork
The employee should be asked to provide a current certificate of capacity from their treating specialist, medical professional and/or ACC case manager. This will be used to provide information regarding:

  • how long the employee is expected to be absent from work
  • whether the employee is expected to return at full capacity or with reduced duties, or a temporary or permanent change in duties
  • whether the employee is needing to take a gradual approach to return to work in terms of days and hours
  • current limitations in terms of mental and physical capacity

Writing the RTW Plan
No two RTW plans are the same; each plan is tailored to the employee and their individual situation. Agree the terms of the plan with the employee. It should include these key things:

  • days and hours of work, including whether working from home is an option
  • physical limitations associated with their usual duties
  • any contributing information from medical professionals and/or ACC case managers
  • date expected to achieve a full return to work
  • workplace support, e.g. review of the employee’s workstation
  • review dates for the plan
  • ongoing information required from medical professionals and/or ACC case managers
  • any payroll instructions, e.g. sick leave payments, unpaid leave etc.

The importance of checking in…
A plan goes a long way to dialling down the stress, but because there are so many variables in play, you need to have some flexibility to change the plan. This means planned check-ins with the employee are important as you want them to stay connected while they are not at work. Talking with them will help you keep on top of things in the event the plan needs to be modified.

At the outset the big unknown is how quickly the employee is able to become productive again. Keeping in contact will give you a sense of whether they are champing at the bit to start work again or needing to take extra time. Good communication will help to get the balance right.

If you have any questions about RTW Plans give us a call anytime on 07 823 3250 or send us an email  [email protected].

Government has announced a new wage subsidy, specifically for apprentices.

The “Apprenticeship Boost” wage subsidy scheme kicks off from 1st August this year, to help employers retain and employ new apprentices while dealing with the effects of COVID-19.

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There are times when checklists come in really handy, and I think this month is one of those times. We all have a lot on our plate, so I have kept this checklist brief, but practical.

1. Wage Subsidy Key Dates & Actions

  • The application date for the current wage subsidy ends 9 June.
  • If you qualify for the Wage Subsidy Extension payment (8-week payment), you can apply for this after 9 June.
  • Refund MSD if you didn’t have a revenue loss of 30% or you made people redundant during the wage subsidy period.
  • Advise MSD if employees resigned during the wage subsidy period.
  • Do you have an employee on ACC? Remember to send details to ACC each time a subsidy payment is made. If ACC are paying your employee and you have suspended wage subsidy payments for the employee, you need to refund MSD.

2. Triangular Employment Change – 27 June

  • The Employment Relations (Triangular Employment) Amendment Act 2019 comes into force on 27 June 2020.
  • We will be running a 45 minute Zoom webinar on the scenarios it applies to, what the implications are, and some best practice guidelines for managing 3rd party staff in your workplace.
    Webinar date: 18 June 2020, 11am
    Webinar fee: $25 + GST
    To book: email [email protected]

3. Paid Parental Leave – Increase 1 July

  • Increases to 26 weeks from 1 July 2020.
  • The change doesn’t require employers to provide any additional leave. It might provide more certainty for employers about the length of time you need to fill the role, given the likelihood that more parents may take at least 26 weeks if the majority of the leave is paid. Employees can still request an additional six months of unpaid parental leave.

4. Don’t forget to document

  • Have your terms changed, even if it’s only for an interim period? e.g. a 4 day week, etc.? You need to document the changes you have made as a result of COVID-19.
  • Update or document any new policies for the way you now work as a result of COVID-19 e.g. health & safety, working from home, etc.

If you have any questions, give us a call (07 823 3250) or send us an email ([email protected]).