Ask your staff
The summary of ideas below is to provide some practical ideas for you to consider or implement as appropriate, this is a moving target as the Government responds with new tools and ideas but its important to get some thinking out there ASAP so you can start to answer the many questions that you have but also your team will have.
Current as of 15 March 2020
Values led decision-making
When deciding what to do always start with your own personal values and the values of your business, how you want to be treated and therefore how you treat others should be the starting points for deciding how you respond to your staff, your customers, your suppliers, your bank, other lenders, the IRD and other Government agencies, in fact everyone you come into contact with.
As mentioned above before determining how you will respond to leave related decision making, reflect on your values, but also read and understand your employment contracts and information updates provided by reputable agencies
Returning from Overseas
If you have workers returning from overseas straight into self-isolation three initial thoughts:
1. Start with the individual - what do they need if they are going straight into self-isolation? As they have been away overseas consider the things you sort when you return from overseas, do they have the basic necessities of food etc, are their pets in kennels etc. If they are self-isolating how can these immediate issues be solved for them by their wider network, or you, as for that person these things will likely be more immediate then returning to work.
2. Next are the business aspects – can they effectively work from home, if not why not and how can you solve that for them. What tools can you deliver them to enable this to happen.
a. Office based workers – do they have sufficient internet access, if not pay for an upgrade, get computers and screens delivered to their homes, if you have paper-based files scan and send them. Identify and use collaborative meeting tools.
b. Trades based workers – do any of your team have home based workshops that enable them to do components of jobs from home, how could you make this work? Alternatively, what office-based work could be shifted onto them and get the office-based workers back onto the tools.
c. Agricultural workers – what minor changes can you make to how you do stuff so people can work on farm in isolation, simple example can you change a two person milking team into a one-person milking team.
3. If your workers cannot work from home - you need to determine the financial implications for them and the business, if possible hold off on a decision until the Government Relief Package is revealed but for now refer to the guidance here.
In simple terms, if the employee cannot work from home then consider paid special leave, but if this is not affordable discuss and agree using sick leave or annual leave as first options. Get innovative, can two weeks of self-isolation be replaced by working weekends to make up the days later.
Leave already approved
If a staff member is already approved for annual leave and this involves going overseas ask whether they are still intending to go overseas. If they are focus on whether or not they can work during the self-isolation period and if they cannot how will this be treated – special leave, sick leave, annual leave, some other arrangement.
Make supportive decisions that are focussed on business requirements and the individual.
Future leave applications
Check your employment agreements so you have a clear understanding of when you can decline leave requests. Before declining any requests ensure you have considered the reasons behind the leave.
Meet with employees and ensure any leave requests have a clear understanding of how any self-isolation period will be managed from a work vs leave perspective and the impact on wages for that individual.
Stay connected – live stream staff events and send an event package to the self-isolation team.
Introduce the “two metre party” party – we get energy from connecting with and communicating with others, self-isolation is the exact opposite of this.
Covering for Self-Isolating Staff
Tap into the retired workforce.