Could your Volunteer or Woofer be an Employee?

Did you know, that anyone working in return for food and accommodation is likely to be an employee? This means they are entitled to the same minimum employment rights as a paid employee and you need to register as an Employer, file Employer forms with IRD and pay PAYE, check they are allowed to work in New Zealand, keep time and wage records and enroll them in KiwiSaver if they are eligible. You need to make sure they receive minimum entitlement including that the value of what they are getting is not less than minimum wage, and pay sick leave and accrue holiday pay! If you do not deduct PAYE, you still need to calculate the amount of PAYE on the market value of accommodation etc provided and pay it to IRD.

This is not an exhaustive check list, please contact us if you need further information or have any queries.

Gifts of Food & Drink

IRD have recently clarified their position on gifts of food and drink, ie hampers, Christmas ham etc, and these gifts now fall under the Entertainment rule and are only 50% deductible as there is a private benefit. It makes no difference whether the gift is to staff, suppliers or customers. Gifts other than food and drink are still 100% deductible as long as it’s business related, keep in mind FBT for staff. As before, any meals, drinks and entertainment are only 50% deductible, unless it is morning or afternoon tea or meals while travelling, however not if accompanied by a potential or existing business contact in which case it is only 50% deductible.


The Power of Values in Driving Organisational Change

Most people instinctively understand the concept of values, after all we all have them, but most people tend to think of them as something that relates to a person and not an organisation. However, many successful businesses and organisations, across a range of sectors, are successfully using organisational values as a base to improve the culture in their organisation, drive improvements and deliver real benefits to their customers.

Organisational values represent the guiding principles for the way employees go about their jobs and interact with the customers of the organisation. They define non-negotiable behaviours and they underpin the organisation’s vision.

Placing organisational values at the heart of an organisation can deliver some powerful tools when addressing your organisation’s culture. For instance, organisation values can:

  • Provide a framework for how your employees (from the CEO down) treat one another at work
  • Provide a framework for how your employees treat your customers
  • Provide a framework for achieving your vision and increasing organisational effectiveness
  • Can help to create an environment that facilitates job satisfaction
  • Can help you identify employees who agree with your company’s vision and will fit with the culture
  • Can be used in marketing your organisation’s products or services

To be effective the organisational values cannot just be invented around the Board table or with the Senior Management Team. For this values led approach to be successful, four things are critical:

  • Employees and customers’ opinions about the organisation should form a crucial part in developing the values;
  • The values must be embedded from the top to the bottom
  • The values must be visible in every day work across the organisation
  • The values must be aligned to customer expectations

A brilliant example of an organisation using values to enhance its ability to improve the quality of delivery is the Waitemata DHB. It is referred to as the “Waitemata Experience” and is a values based culture change focused on achieving better outcomes and experiences for its patients. Cruicially the DHB realised was that they couldn’t improve patient outcomes without improving staff outcomes. They determined the DHB’s values by collaborating with their staff and their customers. Their organisational values are:

  • Everyone matters
  • Work with compassion
  • Feel connected
  • Better, best, brilliant

They then worked to develop 16 core standards that relate to the values and drive goals, decision making and behaviour within the DHB.  The DHB sought and analysed feedback from employees and patients and was surprised that the employees’ and the patients’ views didn’t always align on similar topics, for example, employees tended to believe that a good clinical outcome was the top priority for patients, but patients indicated that a good clinical outcome was expected. What the patient saw as a top priority was to be able to ask questions and to be listened to by the health professionals they were dealing with.  Patients also indicated that they wanted to feel welcomed and to feel that the place was a friendly one to visit. Whereas employees indicated that appreciation and recognition by their peers and managers was high on their list of needs.

The DHB has indicated that while the Waitemata Experience is still a work in progress the impact it has had on its employees and patients has been a significant and positive one.

If you are interested in improving the culture of your organisation or keen to explore what organisational values might be able to deliver for you, please contact us.

Nelson Arts Festival

Once again we are delighted to be able to sponsor a show at the 22nd annual Nelson Arts Festival.

The show we are sponsoring this year is Songs For The Fallen, described as “An outrageous, corset-busting cabaret about a woman who knew one thing: good girls don’t make history. Paris in 1847. Marie Duplessis – courtesan, party girl, liar and legend – got out of bed, put on a dress, ordered a bottle of champagne and sat alone in her Paris apartment to celebrate her birthday. She died 18 days later, aged 23.”

The reviews for the show have been wonderful and we know it will be another star performance at this year’s festival.

We have plenty of catalogues in the office so pick one up next time you are in.



KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant changes

A number of changes to the eligibility criteria for the KiwiSaver HomeStart Grant took effect on 1 August 2016. The key changes are:

House price caps

The existing house price caps will be increased by $50,000 to the new levels of $400,000, $500,000 and $600,000. (See fact sheet for details) These house price caps are to be used exclusively for existing/older properties.

Additionally a new house price cap has been added. These caps will be set at $450,000, $550,000 and $650,000 and are for new properties such as off the plan purchases, house and land packages, the purchase of land on which a new property will be built or a newly built property where the code compliance certificate has been issued within the last six months. (See table below for details)

Income caps

The existing income cap limits of $80,000 for one buyer and $120,000 for two or more buyers are to be increased to $85,000 and $130,000 (before tax) respectively. These caps are based on income earned in the previous 12 month period.

Previous home owners

For the assessment of previous home owners, the realisable assets test will be based on the house price cap for existing/older properties, not the new property caps.

Progress at The Suter and Road Works in Bridge Street

The Suter staff are getting ready to move back to the original home of the gallery beside the Queen’s Gardens. It is an exciting time for everyone involved in the redevelopment and the fruition of many years of hard work, planning, designing and building a new home for the region’s treasured works of art. The Suter will be officially opened in October but we were able to join other invited supporters of the Suter redevelopment for a sneak peek at the finished space. Check out the photo’s below.

One final major disruption is road works that are currently underway and expected to last about another 4-5 weeks. Council contractors have been working very efficiently rebuilding the kerb and channel on the Suter side of the road, and will soon start work on resurfacing the footpath on both sides and finally resurfacing the road between Harley St and the bridge.

At the moment there is no roadside parking along much of Bridge Street but our clients will be still be able to access our on-site parking. There may be a day or two where this is even more restricted as the contractors work directly at our entrance but we will let you know when that is likely to be.



Craig Potton with designer Craig Potton with project manager Entrance to the SuterEntrance walkway design detail Entrance with design detailOriginal rafters now visible in original historic gallery space Foyer reteins and enhances historic features marker plates showing original building boundaries New Foyer linking Bridge St to the Queen's GardensStaff office space THe original Stuer gallery linking to new galleries THe Suter Cafae space

Chapman ER – Test Your Knowledge

Q. My employee has resigned without giving notice. Can I deduct an amount equivalent to their notice from their final pay?

Click here to find the answer.

Q. Do I have to keep leave records for each of my employees?

Click here to find the answer.

Q. Can an employee be entitled to public holidays after their employment has been terminated?

Click here to find the answer.

Is an employee entitled to be paid for public holidays while they are on parental leave?

Click here to find the answer.

Is the calculation for annual leave the same as for other types of leave (bereavement, public holidays, sick)?

Click here to find the answer.

Scam emails

It is obvious to most when we receive emails from someone purporting to have $250 million waiting for us to collect that it is a scam email and we just hit the delete key, however scammers are getting much more creative.

An article in the June issue of Consumer about a builder’s email account being hacked, an invoice generated in his name to a genuine client of his but with someone else’s bank account number on the invoice shows the need to be very cautious if you are paying someone and their bank account has changed. This is especially important for businesses who may have someone responsible for ordering work/supplies and someone else for payment of accounts.

So there are two lessons – firstly be very careful when paying invoices and secondly Consumer is a very good organisation and it is worth businesses subscribing to their services so you get a heads-up about any issues and can check out testing they do with things that are used for business, like mobile phones and they have regular expert advice from their technology writer.

Company information

Something you may not be aware of is just how much information about companies is freely available public information.

The information about all companies on the Companies Office website includes

  • Company number and date the company was formed
  • Shareholder names, addresses and number of shares held (not value)
  • Director names and addresses
  • Documents filed for a company with the Companies Office (Annual returns, Change of Shareholder and Director details etc)
  • Registered Office details
  • Previous names of the company

This relates to every company on the New Zealand Companies Office Register

Ways to Manage a Remote Workforce

If you operate a business that requires your employees or yourself to be mobile or work remotely from home, then you may be familiar with the unique challenges this can present.

With the advanced technology available; companies cutting back on expensive office space and overheads; employees demanding more flexible working arrangements and wasted hours spent sitting in traffic jams in some cities, the increase in mobile or remote workers has increased dramatically.

While some businesses are embracing this shift to more flexible working, others are more wary about what this would mean for productivity, accountability and overall staff performance. How do they reach employees in an emergency? How do they measure output? How much time is spent watching soap operas instead of working?

So to manage your employees remotely, accurately measure their performance and ensure they comply with company policies etc, here are some ways to create a good working employment relationship with your remote workers without compromising on productivity or profitability.

Firstly you need to measure what’s important. It is too difficult to manage something you can’t measure. GPS software allows managers to record, in real-time, vehicle activity details. This doesn’t mean you look over the driver’s shoulder every minute of the day but it does allow you to record important data like start and stop times, the number of jobs completed, idle time and maybe even speeding violations!

You will also need to really communicate well. This doesn’t mean stalking them every minute of the day but it does mean you need to find an easy way for you and your employees to communicate when necessary. Cell phones, CB radios, Smart Phones, Skype are all established and successful methods.

Next you will need to change your way of thinking to concentrate on outputs not activities. Flexible working changes the dynamics of management. You can no longer fixate on controlling what an employees’ day-to-day activities are. Instead step back and look at the big picture. What are the objectives that need to be achieved? Communicate the agreed objectives and leave them to work out how they can accomplish those goals. Have trust in them that they will use creativity and initiative to achieve the desired outcomes, or ask for help if they need it.

How much do you think you will you need to change especially if you’ve been used to a more hands-on management style, or been a ‘micro manager’? There is no doubt that some change will be required from you so be prepared for that and set the example for your employees.

Trust is going to be the most important aspect of this change. You need to give your staff the benefit of the doubt, extending trust until they show they’re undeserving of it. Reward the positive behaviour expected but ensure there are consequences for behaviour that doesn’t reach the standard required.

Finally, remember that technology will never replace you as a manager, but you can use it to complement your management of them. Make use of on-line meeting tools like Skype or instant chat to keep the communication lines open and contact with your employees easier than ever before. Web-based software for recording timesheets, sending and receiving e-mails, or monitoring staff location can be valuable tools to keep track of your employees if there is a requirement to do so.

So are you ready for your work force to work from Mars? It’s only an 18 month response time!