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***View the latest information from NKBA on COVID-19 HERE***

The latest information from NKBA on COVID-19

On Monday 11 May, the Prime Minister announced that at 11.59pm on Wednesday the 13th of May we will move to Alert Level 2. You can find out more information about what being at Alert Level 2 means here.

While its great to see us move down the Alert Levels, now is not the time to be complacent with COVID-19 and health and safety.

The Government has released 8 Golden Rules for working at Level 2; these are:
1. COVID-19 is still out there. Play it safe.
2. All businesses can operate if they can do so safely. Alternative ways of working are encouraged where possible.
3. Talk with your workers to identify risks and ways to manage them.
4. Ask everyone, workers, contractors, and customers, with cold or flu-like symptoms to stay away from your premises.
5. Keep groups of customers a minimum 1 metre apart.
6. Keep contact-tracing records of anyone who will have close interaction (workers, contractors, or customers).
7. Reduce the number of shared surfaces, and regularly disinfect them.
8. Wash your hands. Wash your hands. Wash your hands.

COVID-19 Back to Work Health and Safety Standards and Protocols
As we transition back to work when alert levels are lifted, health and safety must be the top priority for all businesses and workers. Strict safety standards and protocols are essential to both protect workers and stop the spread of COVID-19, and to give people confidence that it is safe to return to work.

The standards protocols lay out the key principles and requirements for healthy and safe construction-related operations under COVID-19 Alert Levels 2 and above for commercial and residential building.

You can download copies of the standards and protocols in English and Mandarin here.

Mental Health and Wellbeing
COVID-19 and the lockdown are incredibly stressful situations for everyone, especially business owners. It is more important than ever we look out for each other and proactively take care of our own mental health. We have complied a list of services available for you and your staff.

CHASNZ
CHASNZ has developed a pocket guide specifically designed for the construction sector. The guide helps you have a conversation about mental health with other people.

Click here to access the guide.

Government services
The Government has developed strategies to look after your mental health while in this uncertain period.

Click here to read the guidance.

Mentemia

Mentemia is an app that helps coach mental wellbeing, developed by Sir John Kirwan. It is free to all New Zealanders. It offers an easy to use platform with a range of tools that can be tailored to your needs. To access the download link for Mentemia app click here.

All right?
The Mental Health Foundation launched campaign aimed at getting through COVID-19 together. The website has several resources and tips to help you in this period, including tools for parents in the lockdown.

Click here to access the website.

Other helplines
Lifeline 0800 543 354 (text 4357)
Youthline 0800 376 633
Samaritans 0800 726 666

Government Business Assistance

The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme
A couple of weeks ago, the Government announced further support for small businesses as part of their response to COVID-19. Applications are now open.
The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme provides assistance of up to $100,000 to firms employing up to 50 full-time employees. The scheme will provide $10,000 to each firm and $1,800 per equivalent full-time employee. Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within a year, otherwise interest will be 3%. Repayments are not required for the first two years. Applications are now open on the IRD website, click here for more information.

Regional Business Partner Network
Government has announced the injection of $25m into the provision of professional services for small to medium sized businesses through the Regional Business Partner Program (RBP). Details on the RBP Program and eligibility can be found here.

Wage Subsidies
The Government has announced a wage subsidy package for all businesses. To qualify, businesses need to prove an actual or predicted 30% decline in revenue for any month between January and June 2020 compared to the year before (including projected revenue). If eligible, employers receive $585.80 per week for full time staff, and $350 for part time staff for 12 weeks.

For more information click here.

Government Tax Announcement
The Government have announced a range of relief measures targeted for small to medium businesses. These changes include:

$3.1 billion tax loss carry-back scheme. That allows businesses to access their previous tax payments as cash refunds. This means a forecast loss in the current financial year can be offset against the tax paid on a profit from last year.

‘In-principal’ changes to the tax loss continuity rules, gives taxpayers raising capital a level of certainty to undertake these transactions.

Expanding the business consultancy support from the Regional Business Partner Network. Businesses will be able to access free, tailored specialist support for a range of issues they may have.

IRD will have greater flexibility to modify timeframes or requirements for businesses. This could include, for example, extending deadlines for filing tax returns and paying provisional and terminal tax.

To read more on the IRD website click here.

Business Finance Guarantee Scheme
The Government has launched a Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy. Under the scheme, businesses with annual revenue between $250,000 and $80 million can apply to their banks of loans up to $500,000, for up to 3 years.

For more information click here.

Mortgage Holiday Scheme
Small to medium business and personal mortgage holders can apply to their banks for a six-month principal and interest payment holiday whose incomes have been affected.

For more information click here.

Immediate tax deductions for low value assets
From April 1st, businesses can fully deduct the cost of low-cost assets when they are purchased. There is a temporary threshold increase from $500 to $5,000 (the new permanent threshold is $1,000).

For more information click here.

Increased threshold for provisional tax
From April 1, the threshold for provisional tax will lift from $2,500 to $5,000. This measure will reduce cash flow pressure and compliance costs by allowing businesses to defer their tax payments.

For more information click here.

Relief on interest for late tax payments
For businesses severely financially impacted by COVID-19, IRD will potentially waive the interest on late tax payments.

For more information click here.

24 April 2020
As we enter Alert Level 3, many of us will be able to return to our place of work, however ensuring responsible health and safety standards are adhered to is vital to slowing the spread of Covid-19. Introducing sound health and safety protocols are also key to ensuring your staff feel confident and prepared to return to work.
The first step is to create a Covid-19 Safety Plan. It is a requirement that all businesses that are permitted to resume operations in Alert Level 3 need to have a COVID-19 Safety Plan that sets out how they’ll operate safely. You also need to discuss and share the plan with everyone at work – including workers, contractors, and suppliers – before the work starts. You should review and update your plan regularly. Worksafe has provided a template to help with your planning. You can find it here WSNZ_3741-Covid-19-Pandemic-Form-v3-0

In addition to developing a Covid-19 Safety Plan you should also review the following resources to ensure you are operating in line with best practice:

The Covid-19, Standard for New Zealand Construction Operations, developed by the Construction Sector Accord, can be found here.

Developing your Safety Plan and what you need to think about, more information is located here.

The Government’s Covid-19 Website is a fantastic resource with information for employers and employees.

NZ Covid-19 V&H Construction Protocols Commercial Sector.

Covid-19 Health and Safety Protocols for New Zealand Residential Construction Sites Residential Sector.