Emergency Shutdown – Who pays the workers?

By Claire Parkes, Managing Director, Clarian Human Resources

Many businesses in Christchurch are quickly coming to terms with how to handle their staff resource while their operations are fully or partially closed down. There’s lots of information hitting the media, so let’s cut-to-the-chase with the essentials.

1. Look at your employee agreements – is there anything written about what actions will take place in the event of an emergency or temporary shut-down of operations? If so, you will need to follow these.

2. Are your employees on a fixed number of hours per week or can they be varied on demand i.e. casual agreements? If the hours are fixed, you will need to pay them for hours normally contracted for if they are fit and able to undertake the work.

3. Check your insurance – does it cover payment of wages in this situation?

4. Ask employees if they would be willing to take annual leave during the shutdown period (but be aware that they do not have to oblige where you have not given them 14 days notice).

5. Consider allowing your employees to work from home or another appropriate building if access is possible.

6. Be open with your employees about the financial strain the situation has put on the company and see if you can come to some kind of mutual agreement about reduced hours over a certain timeframe.

7. Direct your employees to compensation through WINZ for loss of income and basic necessities (see www.workandincome.govt.nz/individuals/a-z-benefits/civil-defence-payment.html)

8. Contact the Chamber of Commerce to see if you are eligible for compensation recently announced by the government.

9. Ensure you are continuously checking the suitability of your office space against health and safety regulations.

10. Consider whetherÊimprovements to your policies and agreements to cover for any future emergencies can be made.Ê A business continuity plan should cover the following as a minimum:

o Health and Safety
o Human Resources
o IT Resourcing
o Service Delivery
o Supplier Management
o Travel requirements
o Communications

Share this: