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!

Modernising Parental Leave

The Employment Standards Legislation Bill which came into effect on 1 April 2016 brings some changes to Parental Leave, including:

  • Parental leave payment period extended to 18 weeks
  • Parental leave payment extended to non-standard workers and those who have recently changed jobs
  • Entitlements extended to a wider range of permanent arrangement carers with primary responsibility of a child under 6 years
  • Unpaid leave can be taken flexibly within the first year
  • Introducing “Keeping in Touch” hours of work – for example to do training, hand overs and ease back into work
  • Extending unpaid leave to workers who have been with their employer for more than six months but less than 12
  • Allowing workers to resign and still receive payments
  • Increasing penalties for fraud
  • Providing additional parental leave payments for parents of preterm babies

Some of the above requires certain eligibility criteria be met and some are by mutual agreement with the Employer, so it pays to communicate your plans. To read more about the changes and to find out the details about leave entitlements and criteria visit one of these sites:

Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

IRD

Fair & Productive Work Places

The 1 April 2016 legislative changes also address the zero hour contracts and includes changes to hours of work commitments and what employers can expect from employees and aims to increase certainty for both parties.

When the employer and the employee agree to hours of work, those hours must be stated in the employment agreement including the number of hours, start and finish times or the days of the week the employee will work. The employer and employee do not have to agree on hours but when they do it must be recorded in the employment agreement.

Employers are now prohibited from the following practices:

  • Not committing to any hours of work, and expecting employees to be available when required
  • Expecting employees to be available above their agreed hours, without reasonable compensation. Employers are not obliged to offer, and employees are free to decline, work that is above the agreed hours.
  • Requiring employees to be available, without a genuine reason based on reasonable grounds
  • Canceling a shift without reasonable notice or reasonable compensation to the employee. Notice period and reasonable compensation must be agreed and stated in the employment agreement. If the employee has commenced their shift or if reasonable notice period or compensation is not recorded, the employee is entitled to what they would have otherwise earned for that shift.
  • Putting unreasonable restrictions on secondary employment of employees. Reasonable ground for restriction could be related to risk of loss to the employer of knowledge, property or reputation or to prevent a real and unmanageable conflict of interest.
  • Making unreasonable deductions from employees’ wages. Employees must now consent to deductions from wages. Deductions to cover losses caused by a third party through breakages or theft may be unreasonable.

Health & Safety

With the new Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 now in force, it is a good time to review workplace practices and the roles of its’ people. Following is a brief summary and links to where you can find out more about the details.

The aim of the new Act is to improve New Zealand’s woeful health and safety record and turn it around to a positive, pro-active and robust health and safety culture in our work force. Everyone has a right to go home safely. The focus is on effective governance and it brings new responsibilities for everyone in the workplace. Changes include:

  • Increased penalties for non-compliance
  • Wider enforcement tools for non-compliance
  • A new three tiered hierarchy of offences
  • Duties owed by employers and principals is replaced by duty owed by ‘persons conducting a business or undertaking’ (PCBU)
  • New due diligence obligation on directors and officers to take reasonable steps to:
    • ensure PCBU complies with its duty to ensure health and safety of others
    • acquire and maintain current knowledge of health and safety matters, and hazards and risks associated with the company’s operations
    • ensure the PCBU has sufficient resources to manage health and safety risks and that it uses those resources
    • ensure the company complies with its health and safety duties
  • New duty owed by PCBU to take ‘reasonably practicable steps’ to ensure the health and safety of workers and other persons, including the environment not posing risks, provide adequate facilities, information, protection and training. Conditions in the workplace must be monitored to prevent injury. Worker participation in health and safety matters is increased. Workers also have a duty to take reasonable care with health and safety of themselves and others.

Management or Statutory Liability insurance policies will generally include amendments to existing Act or new Acts to be automatically included. Whilst the Act prohibits insuring against fines, certain others costs and financial consequences of a prosecution can be insured against and due to the wider duties the costs associated with a prosecution under the Act can be expected to increase. Now is therefore a good time to review your indemnity limit in your Liability insurance policy.

WorkSafe New Zealand’s user friendly website is a great resource with information, presentations, tools and resources.

The Institute of Directors have issued a document called Good Governance Practice Guidelines which provides directors advice on how they can influence health and safety performance in their organisations.  It includes further detail and provides more in-depth analysis of the changes and requirements placed on Directors.

Health and Safety at Work Regulations 2016 supporting the new Act is available to assist with compliance.

Health and Safety at Work Act 2015