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The Minimum Wage Increases from 1 April 2018.

While the Government must review the Minimum Wage annually the new Government has already pledged to get it up to $20 per hour by 2020. The first step to this target is the increase that comes into effect from 1st April 2018

The new minimum wage rates are:

Adult – $16.50 an hour
Starting-out – $13.20 an hour (up from $12.60)
Training – $13.20 an hour (up from $12.60)

If you already pay above the minimum wage there is no obligation to increase it proportionally.

If you have any employees earning less that $16.50 an hour then you MUST increase their pay rate to the appropriate new minimum wage

Employees who are paid wages need to be paid for the actual hours they work. This includes any extra hours completed.

For Salaried staff you need to consider if they are being paid below minimum wage for total hours of work.

Nelson Pine Industries Business Awards

At this year’s Nelson Pine Industries Business Awards hosted by the Nelson Tasman Chamber of Commerce two of our clients won awards; Emma

Heke won the Innovation Award for her range of specialty herbal teas and Shane & Annette McCrae from McCraes Blinds and Drapes were awarded a special Business Excellence Award in the large business category.

A huge congratulations to both businesses and the very hard working owners.

It is worth noting that Emma completed the year-long Barbican Training business course before she started her business, this meant she had a full business plan, finance plane, marketing pan and the skills to manage her new business. It just goes to show if you start off on the right track with a new business success can be just around the corner.

 

Employer Owes $2.4 Million To Employees

In a recent investigation into wage payment irregularities at SOE Landcorp, the Labour Inspector found significant issues. The Inspector determined that over the last seven years Landcorp had been incorrectly calculating the entitlements of approximately 1,400 employees.

There appear to be two main areas where Landcorp incorrectly calculated the entitlements:

a) Landcorp did not include the employee’s accommodation allowance into the calculation of gross earnings. This had a flow on impact to the calculation for sick, annual, bereavement and public holiday leave.

b) Landcorp breached the minimum wage for employees who were on salary, but worked long hours during peak season.

The amount owed to 1,400 former and current employees is approximately $2.4 million.

Employers can take several lessons from this decision.

Firstly, even if the employer uses a payroll system to calculate entitlements, it is up to the employer to ensure that the payroll system is calculating this correctly. In Landcorp’s case the payroll system incorrectly excluded the accommodation allowance from the gross salary calculation. MBIE have stated that at the end of June 2017 it has 140 cases which it categorised as payroll audits. Of those 118 had been investigated which led to 53 enforceable undertakings, 29 improvement notices and 2 cases lodged with the ERA.

Secondly, where employers have salaried employees on lower salary levels (less than $55,000 at present) and those employees are working long hours over a peak period of work, the employer must calculate the weekly/fortnightly pay ensure that employee is paid above the minimum wage for every hour they work in that week/fortnight.

Precinct Dining Co. Motueka

Motueka has had an important role in this region’s food industry for many years, primarily as a place food is grown and processed, but in recent times it has also become home to some wonderful eating establishments including Precinct Dining Co.

Located on the corner of High Street and Greenwood St in part of the Countdown building, Precinct Dining Co was established in December 2015 by Tim and Kylie Andrew, Tim is the chef and Kylie “does everything else which is about 80% of running a hospitality business” according to Tim.

Last week I sat down with them over one of my favourite drinks, a double shot long black, and we talked about why they chose Motueka as a place to start a café.

They told me that Motueka didn’t have many places like the one they envisaged, in the past there were plenty of places to eat but nothing offering a modern dining experience, in recent years that has changed a lot with several places making great food delivered with very good service.

In the case of Precinct they wanted to create a place that had a modern feel to the food and a dining environment that wasn’t too big so they could manage it pretty much by themselves.

“Instagram, social media and tv shows like Master Chef have helped change people’s expectations of food, it doesn’t have to be steak, eggs and chips or bakery foods, food is much more exciting now and the people of Motueka appreciate it just as much as anyone else.”

Something else that drew them to Motueka is the fact it is small town New Zealand with a very high summer tourist density and quieter winters, “it is absolutely full-on in summer and we get a bit of time off in winter so we can have a lifestyle you don’t get when you are working in the restaurant scene in big cities.”

While Tim is a chef and Kylie has a qualification in Bio-Medical Science they have both worked in the hospitality sector for some time; Tim trained in Queenstown at Skyline where he had an apprenticeship, “we were doing 1500 meals a day but it was all buffet style food, we did the same thing every day and it made me realise I don’t like doing buffet, but it was so hard to get an apprenticeship when the opportunity came up I jumped at it.”

He is a huge supporter of the apprenticeship programme, most people train at polytechnics or cooking schools these days but working as an apprentice has a lot of benefits, “you finish with a qualification and without a student debt because you are learning on the job, earning money while learning and getting real world experience.”

Tim has also had several apprentices over the years including Beau Lyttle who is working with him now and will be finished his apprenticeship at the end of this year.

As well as working at Skyline in Queenstown Tim also worked at the Millenium Hotel for the last year of his apprenticeship before moving to the Shoreline café at Kaiteriteri for a summer as Chef de Partie then on to his first Head Chef role at the Mecure Hotel in Dunedin which is where he decided working in a hotel kitchen wasn’t for him either.

So it was overseas for a few years, firstly to Orpheus Island, a high-end luxury lodge off Townsville, “I moved there to chill out a bit after the crazy hours of working in a hotel but it wasn’t as relaxing as I hoped, I was promoted to head chef after three days.”

His next stint working in a resort was at Peppers Palm Bay, another Island in the Whitsunday’s, that the owner ended up turning into his house on the private island.

After Peppers he ran a ski resort in Australia at Threadbo where the backpacker accommodation slept 300 people, “I was up at 2.30am to cook breakfast, then it was up the mountain to the other part of the resort for lunch service, a bit of snow boarding then back down the hill to feed everyone for dinner. It was a real challenge, I couldn’t do it now but back then I was living on coffee and adrenalin.”

In 2010 he spent another summer at Shoreline before he headed overseas to follow Kylie who was also working at Shoreline for the summer, “her mother was keen for her to spend some time at home for a while but she met me and I ruined her life by hooking her into hospitality, she is one of those people who is naturally great at hospitality” says Tim.

Kylie had an internship at Disney World so Tim followed her and he ended up working as a cooking teacher on Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines in the Caribbean, they sailed out of Miami every week with a new load of passengers and one of the things the cruise line offered was cooking courses.

“That was a cool job but hard work, six months on and 10-12 hour days teaching every day Americans who had no idea how to cook simple stuff, one lady had never seen a fresh carrot, she had only ever seen frozen carrot slices, it blew my mind how little some of these people knew about food let alone how to cook it, in some cases it was basically how to boil water.”

After the short US stint they moved back to New Zealand and Queenstown where they both worked in the then new Rata restaurant when it first opened.

After Rata it was back to Shoreline as the head chef and front of house manager. The couple used their previous experience at Shoreline and the experience working in other places to redesign the kitchen to give it a better flow, making it easier to serve hundreds of meals a day.

“It was a great place to work until the management board changed and the focus changed to serving as many people as possible in the hectic summer period; we had the attitude of ‘let’s serve everyone and make everyone happy’ and that changed to ‘let’s get as many people through the doors as we can’ so we couldn’t focus on the quality of food and service that was so important to us.

“We totally understand they wanted to generate as much income as possible at the busiest time of the year but it didn’t suit our philosophy so it provided the impetus to open our own café where we can focus on what we want to provide customers with, we take our time now and serve great food made with love rather than just being a production line.

“Having Kylie run the front of house is fantastic, she is very level headed and sees things differently to me, I have an opinion as a chef and she has an opinion as a customer would see it so we have complimentary skills, I don’t have anything to do with front of house and she doesn’t have anything to do with the kitchen. I think having quite different roles and respecting one another is the reason we work so well together in the business.”

This couple love what they do, especially giving young people an opportunity to do something that isn’t university, “it seems that at many schools kids are pushed to be successful by going to university but you don’t have to, university isn’t the only way to make a great future for yourself.”

In their first year in business they won a Beef and Lamb award and while they are enjoying what they we are doing and will be there for a while Tim says there will come a time we will move on to something else so Kylie can pursue her medical career or whatever she decides to do, “she has very much helped me get everything I wanted so it is only fair to do the same for her.”

www.precinctdining.com

Heke Homemade Herbals – Nelson Mail 04.07.17

This is a column written by Neil Hodgson and first published in the Nelson Mail, about one of our clients Emma Heke and her business Heke Homemade Herbals. These herbal teas have become firm favourites in our office and we think you should try them too.

 

I have known Emma Heke for many years, I have always been hugely impressed with the way she has approached her business ventures and she brings the same enthusiasm and attention to detail to her latest venture, Heke Homemade Herbals. 

 

Heke Homemade Herbals produces a range of outstanding herbal teas with the vast majority made using herbs and flowers she grows at home. The only ingredients she buys are those that don’t grow in New Zealand and come from an organic supplier. 

 

While the teas are fantastic much of the business success can be put down to her going about things the right way; firstly, she has a business she is passionate about and she has the background and business skills to turn that passion into a great business. 

 

Emma’s journey started as an artist with a fine art degree from Dunedin Art School after which she set up her first business, a papier maché venture. People would commission all sorts of custom-made sculptures from lemon trees to mini red Cadillacs! 

 

“I got to make a huge fairyland grotto to go under the staircase in a museum, it was a huge amount of fun and I loved seeing the kid’s reactions.”  

 

After running her small business in Dunedin for two years she moved to Sydney where she worked in a professional photographic lab for the next two years, “I was already really interested in photography and had been teaching myself but learned heaps working in the professional lab 

 

After Sydney it was off to England, where she was born before her family emigrated to New Zealand when she was seven. “For two years I couldn’t get any type of work that I wanted so ended up working in a bar and a boarding school for a pittance, I realised I didn’t want to live on minimum wages and had to do something with my skills. I just wasn’t selfish enough to give up everything and live life just for me as an artist.” 

 

So Heke returned to New Zealand and spent a year training to be a high school art and photography teacher before she worked at Whangarei Girls High School for 12 years, “I loved it, I ended up being the Check Moderator for NCEA levels 1-3 Art for New Zealand and was probably destined for Wellington and well paid jobs but had my son and everything changed” 

 

“Connor was very ill as a baby he was having allergic reactions to many things so while I tried to go back to teaching I couldn’t do both and gave up teaching. We moved to Nelson knowing it would be a good, safe place to bring up a young boy. It’s been fantastic for both of us” 

 

Heke says she had to reinvent her career, she wanted to have her independence and make her own way in life. When Connor was four she had great ideas for films and saw there was a gap in the market for kids films that weren’t all cutesy, something more with an education focus. 

 

“I also realised if I was going to have a successful business I had to get some business skills too so enrolled in a course at Barbican Training called Small Business Management, one night a week for a year and lots of homework but it changed my life. 

 

“I developed the confidence and skills to know I could succeed. During the course you work on your own business, all facets from business planning to financial planning and marketing, as the course progressed I could see the idea I had could work.” 

 

She had never picked up a film camera until she did the full time six-month TV production course at NMIT while completing the Barbican course.  

 

“My mum, Dawn, came down from Thames and she looked after Connor and took him to kindy while I was at tech, if she hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have been able to do many of the things I have.” 

 

Loaded with business skills and video training Heke created her first film Ours, NZ Nature for Children, “ It was huge for me, it sold really well and Air NZ picked it up for their inflight entertainment, many early childhood centres bought it and I won a Green Ribbon Award for it.” She then made a second DVD called Our Creative Children about art and creativity using nature as the inspiration. The third film, Our Green Roadie involved a tour around NZ to showcase eco-entrepreneurs and all the films have been available as DVDs until recently when Emma made the switch to fully digital downloads. 

 

This suits the modern market and fits really well with her marketing strategy that has been highly focused on social media, the videos can be sourced at www.facebook.com/redhekeproductions  

 

So how did she get into producing herbal teas? “After Connor and I had been travelling around the country I was keen to do something based in Nelson and wanted to make the space we had really productive. If I could create a business out of a steep south facing section it would also help other people, I wanted to break some myths people have about not being able to do a lot with small, colder south facing plots of land and wanted to create something viable . 

 

“Because I love herbal teas it was an obvious option for me to choose, something I could do at home without needing a huge amount of land but the micro climate of the garden meant I needed to use sturdy plants that would withstand the frosts, it was difficult to buy great organic teas that were affordable, I really wanted to showcase organic produce.” 

 

She started giving the teas to friends and family first and they kept asking for more, “I realised I had a potential business and created a Facebook page to see if there was a demand beyond friends and family, I harvested my herbs, dried them, made my four favourite blends and sold out in two days, two weeks later I harvested that last of my herbs and they sold out in two days as well. 

 

“We dug up all the lawns, planted lots of herbs and haven’t looked back.” 

 

Heke Homemade Herbals now has a range of 32 blends, “I have tried to keep a deliberately low profile so I can grow the business in a controlled way and manage the growth but people have approached me wanting to stock the teas, Morri Street Café have two teas on their winter menu, that have really taken off.” 

 

McCashins successfully used one of her herbal tea in a recent competition, “they used my white tea that I grow, called it Heke Herbal Tea IPA, took it to Auckland and it went down very well so they are keen to experiment further.”  

 

Heke sells her herbal teas at the Nelson Market on Saturdays and a lot of domestic travellers who buy at the market now order online so she has an ever-expanding mail order client base. 

 

She also runs children’s art classes at home and always has pots of herbal tea for them, “kids really get in to it, their favourite is peppermint, they go in to the garden and we make a big pot of it.” 

 

It is time you discovered Heke Homemade Herbals too, they are wonderful teas packed with flavour and made right here in Nelson and can be contacted through www.facebook.com/HekeHomemadeHerbals . 

 

Changes to Parental Leave Payments

There are two main changes to parental leave payments that have taken effect as of 1 June 2017.

 The start of the parental leave payment

Employees may use up their leave entitlements prior to the start of their 18-week parental leave payments starting, even if this takes them past the baby’s arrival. Leave entitlements include annual leave, alternative days, special leave or time off in lieu that accumulated during employment. Before 1 June 2017, the parental leave payment period couldn’t start later than the baby’s arrival.

Pre-term baby parental leave payment

If a baby is born before the end of 36 weeks and the employee is eligible to parental leave payments, they could also get pre-term baby payments.

Employees with a pre-term baby now have more flexibility around returning to work and parental leave payments. Previously, when an employee with a pre-term baby returned to work after they started getting payments, their payments would stop. However, as of 1 June, employees can still get their parental leave payments when they go back on parental leave, as long as it’s no later than the expected date of birth.

For more information regarding the in’s and out’s of parental leave, please contact one of our knowledgeable consultants at Chapman Employment Relations.

Tax Refund Companies – First published on Stuff website 13.06.17

The matter of how Tax Agents, particularly tax refund companies has been raised in the media again and the most recent article comes with a warning about how your refund could be paid into their bank account even if you do your own tax return online.

At Savage & Savage we never receive client tax refunds into our account, not even our Trust Account. All client refunds go directly to the client and that is why we ask for your bank account details in our client questionnaire each year. And we most certainly do not take fees from your refund.

It is important you fill in your bank account details on the Client Questionnaire Forms each year as we never assume you haven’t changed bank accounts.

To see the original article as posted by Fairfax Media on their Stuff website click here

The article is copied here;

You might still have to pay a tax refund company a fee – even if you do your return yourself.

Casey Kaumatule thought she was being sensible and saving money when she decided to take matters into her own hands and do her partner’s tax return herself, online.

She opted to do it via the Inland Revenue website rather than paying a tax refund company to handle it.

“We got a good amount that was owed to us. But when I checked, I noticed it was paid to a different bank account. I rang IRD and the tax return money had been sent to Savvy Tax Agents. They did my partner’s tax return before and their account wasn’t removed.”

She spoke to the firm, which agreed to waive the fee it would normally charge to release the money that had been sent to it. Kaumatule said it was her mistake not to have checked the details, but it was still frustrating.

Another woman, Samantha Dallas, was also caught out. She said she was not sure when she had signed up with the tax refund firm, but discovered after she had processed her personal tax statement that they were listed as her tax agents.

“I think all tax should just be done through IRD. We already get taxed and private tax agents make it feel like you are getting taxed on your tax.”

People who sign up to have a tax refund company prepare their tax returns usually agree to have those firms act as their tax agents from then on, with their bank accounts set up to process future refund payments.

That means, even if they do their return themselves in future, the agent can end up with the refund.

Consumer NZ spokeswoman Jessica Wilson said it was something her organisation had received complaints about.

Many companies charge a fee to release tax refunds that have been put in their banks accounts in error.

“Problems arise when people aren’t aware they’re giving the company the authority to act as their tax agent – and it remains so until the arrangement is cancelled,” she said.

“There’s an onus on tax refund companies to keep their customers informed the arrangement is still in place. If a company hasn’t done so and receives the refund as a result of a return the customer has filed, we think it shouldn’t deduct a handling fee.”

NZ Tax Refunds, or WooHoo, charges a $25 handling fee in these circumstances.

Managing director Gabrielle Purchas said her firm would automatically push money back to Inland Revenue when a client had not completed the return within its system.

She said it was an administrative burden for her organisation to have to deal with and was something that could be overlooked. “We send it straight back to IRD if we can see it hasn’t been requested.”

Savvy Tax Agents said it would do the same but would not charge.

An Inland Revenue spokesman said it was clear on its MyIR online service whether a person’s account was linked to a tax agent.

“The best advice would be that if you have used a tax refund company in the past then you should check all your details are correct on MyIR before you start applying for a refund yourself.

“Once the customer has reached the My Tax Agent tab on MyIR, they can see who their tax agent is but to de-link they would need to give us this instruction by phone or through secure mail in MyIR.”

 – Stuff

6 Things Employers Must Know About Annual Holidays

Employers must know what these provisions are or risk personal grievances or prosecutions

1.       Advice of rights
Employers must advise employees of their entitlements under the Act and that information is available from the union if they are a member, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

To show this has been done these points should be included in all employment agreements along with a provision concerning the opportunity to take independent advice.

2.       4 weeks holiday
This is standard and cannot be bargained away. Leave is to be expressed as so many weeks (not days). Since 1 April 2011 employees are able to request that one week of their annual leave be paid out.

A greater amount of annual leave may be agreed by the employer and employee.

3.       Annual holidays must be taken
The employer must allow the employee to take all their annual holidays. They can require them to take the annual leave by giving 14 days’ notice.

4.       Annual holidays do not lapse
If employees fail to take holidays then clauses preventing carrying forward are of no effect. Holidays remain due (an entitlement to the employee) until they are taken. Allowing a delay will put up your costs if wages rise, and as holidays accumulate. Holidays are paid at the current rate.

5.       Two weeks uninterrupted leave
Employees are entitled to take two weeks of their leave in an uninterrupted block.

6.       Close downs
Only one per year is allowed. This is where the business is closed and annual leave must be taken.

Calculating leave can be complicated however the onus is on the employer to get it right.  Keeping accurate records is another legal requirement to ensure you are complying with.

If you have any questions regarding the above please contact Chapman ER on 03 545 0877 or email your question to katrina@chapmaner.co.nz.  10 minute enquiries on any new matter are free of charge.

Nelson College student cooks like a champion

Nelson College student M’Chakkapong Klahan has once again been part of a winning team at the secondary schools culinary challenge for the third year in a row. He and team mate Louis Clarke won a Gold medal at this year’s challenge finals.

Mentored by Kevin Hopgood at Hopgood’s Restaurant where he works part-time M’Chakkapong is obviously an up and coming young culinary star.

 

Nicola’s Cantina

The following article was published in the Nelson Mail earlier this month and features a client of Savage & Savage.

It is a story we think is worth sharing again.

Nicola’s Cantina, or just ‘Nicola’s’ as everyone calls it, has very quickly become a favourite dining spot for food lovers in the region.

Mexican food is the latest craze in dining in other regions around New Zealand but Nicola Cantrick and Ross Coeland have had a love of Mexican food for many years. If you ventured out to Golden Beer Brewery at Mapua you may have seen him cooking up his Mexican inspired treats to enjoy with a beer on the wharf and Cantrick was a partner in the Suter Café before she moved on to establish her own business with Coeland.

When I sat down with them last week I asked ‘why Mexican?’ and not the more traditional café food Cantrick had been producing for many years. She told me ‘I wanted to reinvent myself after six years at the Suter Café, I lived in LA for a while and that is the centre of Mexican food in California, I have always loved the Mexican food style because it is delicious, packed with flavour and is affordable. Mexican food is now recognised as one of the three great culinary traditions in the world, it is so vast in variety with so many nuances, from the crisp taco with a mince filling to the rice filled burrito. People now recognise that the fresh flavours are healthy, it is also a cuisine we have had experience with so it was a pretty easy decision.”

While the first three restaurants Cantrick had were Italian inspired. (Java in the 1980’s in Courtney Place in Wellington, then Salt in Oriental Parade and then, with Katrina, at the Suter Café) She has worked all over the world cooking including setting up a Middle Eastern restaurant in Hong Kong and running a Thai brasserie in Sydney called Lime and Lemongrass, an establishment that was a regular haunt for Sydney’s rich and famous, including the likes of Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman and Elle McPherson.

She say “while I have no formal training I have worked with very talented people – Margo Henderson who started with me at Java but then went on to become a culinary super star in London with her husband Fergus has been a big inspiration”

Coeland on the other hand is a graphic artist by trade and has always had a passion for hot sauces. He worked for Dr Hot in Christchurch who made hot sauces that have become well know. If you like your sauce fiery then you will probably know the names Mongrel Mouth and Anal Annihilation (you can try them at Nicola’s). He also owned and operated a very well-known and popular salad bar in Christchurch called Rocket so is no stranger to putting smiles on people faces with great food.

Coeland has also spent a lot of time in Mexico where his daughter lives for much the time and is the ‘King of the Grill’ at Nicola’s Cantina. His taste for the super-hot and Cantrick’s taste for the mild, gentle flavours makes the perfect combination to develop a popular menu, it is the fusion of these talents that is the real secret to their success.

Cantrick  says ”we didn’t want it to be just another café, we wanted to create a place people could come and have fun and sometimes there is nothing funnier that seeing a big brave guy coughing and spluttering because he couldn’t handle the heat he added to his food”. “We want people to have fun and because we love feeding people we get huge satisfaction from seeing that”.

Traditional Mexican cantina food is the stuff they love to cook and have just returned from a few weeks in Mexico where they were inspired by so much and have so many ideas they don’t know where to start when it comes to introducing them to their menu here. The plan is to gradually add new and exciting dishes or simply update some of the dishes they currently have to inject the inspiration they got from their trip into the menu here in little old Nelson. Follow them on Facebook tom find out when new treats are added to the menu facebook.com/nicolascantina