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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

Local B&B Operators Receive National Award

Brian & Anthea Harvey with Nick James

Anthea and Brian Harvey of Bellbird Lodge, Kaiteriteri are congratulated by Nick James, Chairman of the Nelson-Tasman Bed & Breakfast Association, on receiving their award.

Local couple and clients of Savage & Savage, Anthea and Brian Harvey from Bellbird Lodge in Kaiteriteri, were surprised and honored to be presented with a Special Award at the annual conference of Bed & Breakfast Association NEW ZEALAND held recently in Napier.

This award is made to members of the Association who have made a significant contribution to both the Association and to the bed and breakfast industry in New Zealand.

The award was presented at the National conference by Kathryn Officer, President of Bed & Breakfast Association NEW ZEALAND.  When presenting the award, Kathryn thanked  Anthea and Brian for their untiring efforts in the interests of the Nelson-Tasman Regional Group.  Kathryn said “they freely give their time to assisting and mentoring other bed and breakfasts.   Along with this, Anthea is also an Association Consultant responsible for making sure that quality standards for members are complied with.”

Nick James, Regional Group Chairperson, advised “Anthea has been a committee member of the local regional group for the last nine years.  Her exceptional organisational skills and attention to detail in arranging local activities and familiarisation trips have led to many successful and informative visits to neighbouring areas. Last year it was a three day trip to Wellington and the World of Wearable Arts show.  Anthea is affectionately known as our “Camp Mother”.  And, all this could not be achieved without the support and encouragement of Brian.”