Well, it is good to have made it to Friday pretty well unscathed, but we expect the next couple of weeks will be very different as the Subsidy Payments kick in so we will try and cover off how we are going to handle everything from Monday, but we are all on this, ever-changing journey, together. Nobody has all the answers and yes we have to make some things up as we go along so please keep calm, be patient and work with us.
Which Subsidy should we Claim/Pay?
There is a lot of confusion around what subsidy to claim and pay. We have as much information as everyone regarding this but as we have to process these payments, this is the position we have determined.
- The Leave Subsidy original intent was to cover those employees who have had to self-isolate for the 14 days due to having come from overseas or being in close contact with someone with Covid-19. Since then and the Alert 4 status we feel this has been superseded as everyone is at home (or should be). In addition, the leave subsidy has to be applied every 2 weeks so I would think those that have already applied and received it pass it on to those employees it was applied for as unlike the Wage Subsidy we have to specifically identify Leave Subsidy payments in the payroll. Effective 1527 on March 27th, the Leave Subsidy has been rolled into the Wage Subsidy, so no more confusion around this.
- The Wage Subsidy Scheme is for employers who have suffered a minimum of 30% decline in income and are retaining their employees and paying them a minimum of 80% of their normal pay, provided they can do so. “You agree you will, using best endeavours, retain the employees named in your application in employment on at least 80 per cent of their regular income for the period of the subsidy“
- If you cannot pay a minimum of 80%, then the intent is you will pay what you can but not less than the Wage Subsidy figures ($585.80 if you normally work greater than 20 hours per week, or $350 if you normally work less than 20 hours). These figures are not adjusted (pro-rated) in any way and the total amount received must be paid to your employees (less all standard deductions). We now have a report available that can show you what the ‘normal’ payments and hours have been over 4, 12 and 52 weeks, so if struggling to work this out please request a copy of the Wage Earnings Report.
- You cannot make employees take Annual Leave, they are entitled to the full subsidy payment regardless of their current leave levels. You can see if anyone is willing, but it has to be the employee’s choice. If you want staff to take Annual Leave, you still must give 14 Days Notice (perhaps it might be a good idea to give everyone such notice, even if the leave is not taken).
- We recommend that you keep a spreadsheet fo Subsidy Fund Movements each pay for tracking purposes and to keep your Accountant happy.
The process we will be following re the Wage Subsidy is as follows:
- If you know you are paying your staff well above the Subsidy amounts then we will not show it separately as it would create a processing nightmare for us and we need to ensure the staff still get paid.
- If you are only paying the Subsidy it will be displayed as such. The Ezytime portal is the easiest way for you to add the Subsidy payments to staff (but remember, only one transaction per week).
How you can help
- If you are paying staff reduced hours, and they are currently setup on Salary, then by adding a negative number of hours per day in the Portal would assist us greatly. This ability may not exist in all Portals but send us an e-mail and we can quickly add it for you. The same applies to anyone on a Permanent Wage, add in negative hours (normally ordinary).
- The next two weeks are going to be manic for us but we want to ensure everyone gets paid. If you find small errors on reports etc, please don’t panic, make a note of it and we can fix it up later (later may mean in a few weeks). We don’t have the resources to ensure everything is correct to the cent, but everything can be sorted on a case by case basis later, so please let small issues run for now as we are all learning as we go here.
- It would be good if all instructions are provided the first time, are complete and accurate. We may not have time to keep revisiting your payroll with repeated ‘oh I forgot’ situations.
- Please keep phone calls to an absolute minimum, send us your queries by e-mail as per usual.
Lastly, a big thank you for your support and we really appreciate the small messages we have been getting.