Thursday, 16 April 2015

Business.Govt.NZ - Compliance Matters

The business.govt.nz website has now added a compliance section – Compliance Matters.

business.govt.nz/compliancematters
The purpose is to have all the related information in one place easily accessible to businesses.
You can search various topics (employment, business growth or closure, health and safety etc) and limit these to specific industries (e.g. construction, accommodation and food, manufacturing etc).

You can then select the items/topics that are applicable to you and make an "action list".

Payroll Legislation Financial year changes

Changes to payroll legislation happen every year that you need to be aware of.
Changes for the year ahead include:

  • Increase in the maximum liable earnings from $118,191 to $120,070 for the purposes of calculating the ACC Earner levy.
  • Minimum adult wage is increasing from $14.25 to $14.75 from 1 April 2015.
  • The starting-out and training hourly minimum wages will increase from $11.40 to $11.80 an hour.
  • Various amendments to the Employment Relations Act 2000 also came into force on 6 March 2015. Employers particularly need to be aware of the changes regarding Flexible Working Arrangements and Rest and meal breaks.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

10 things you need to do before the Mondayised ANZAC Day

The Holidays (Full Recognition of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day) Amendment Bill or, as it is more commonly known, the ‘Mondayisation Bill’, will have its first big impact on ANZAC Day.

Here are 10 simple things you can to do to make sure your business stays compliant:

  1. Know what’s new. The ‘Mondayisation Bill’ states that from now on, when Waitangi Day (6 February) or ANZAC Day (25 April) fall on a weekend, the public holiday must be treated as falling on the following Monday for employees who would not otherwise work on that Saturday or Sunday.
  2. Know what stays the same. For employees who would normally otherwise work on that Saturday or Sunday, the public holiday must still be treated as falling on that day. If you close for the holiday, you must pay these weekend workers their regular holiday pay. If your business remains open for the holiday, employees are entitled to at least time and a half pay and a whole day’s alternative holiday (day in lieu) at a later date.
  3. Get your ducks in a row. There isn’t much time to get ready. The Monday holiday will first be effective on ANZAC Day 2015 and Waitangi Day in 2016.
  4. Meet your holiday-entitlement obligations. If your employee works on a day that is designated as a public holiday for them (either the weekend day or the Monday, depending on their normal working days), they’ll receive time and a half for the hours worked and become entitled to an alternative holiday.
  5. Mind your roster. If your employee normally works on the day the holiday falls on (for example, he or she is normally rostered to work every Saturday), you can’t take them off the roster for the holiday weekend in an attempt to get out of paying them holiday wages.
  6. Don’t get caught out. Failure to recognise your employees' holiday entitlements, or taking employees off of the roster to avoid paying holiday pay, is a breach of the law. It may lead to enforcement action.
  7. Update your files. After each public holiday you must update the leave records in your employees’ personnel files. Be sure to record when the holiday was taken, if and when a day in lieu (‘alternative holiday’) was taken, if any holiday pay was paid, and when this amount was paid to the employee.
  8. Be mindful of commemorative celebrations. The celebration of Waitangi Day and ANZAC Day (i.e., parades and other commemorative activities) will still occur on the actual holiday date. Keep in mind that it could be important to some of your employees to be able to attend these events.
  9. Remember that you’ve already done this. Certain public holidays were already "Mondayised" under the Act. If Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day or 2 January fall on either a Saturday or Sunday (and that day would not otherwise be a working day), then those public holidays have always been treated as falling on the following Monday or Tuesday.
  10. Don’t panic. This isn’t going to happen often. Waitangi and ANZAC days only fall on a weekend about twice every seven years.
Get more information about:

More detail now needed on your company annual returns

New Zealand companies will need to provide additional information to the Companies Office as a result of changes introduced by the Companies Amendment Act 2014.

The changes have been brought in to prevent the misuse of the Companies Register, and to give the Registrar of Companies extra powers. They are designed to improve the quality and integrity of the information held by the Registrar about New Zealand companies, and to assist the Registrar in holding those who misuse the register to account. While some changes are already in place, others are being phased in throughout the year to give everyone enough time to prepare and meet their compliance obligations.

The main changes

  • New Zealand incorporated companies need to have a director who either lives in New Zealand or Australia, and if they live in Australia, that individual must be a director of a company incorporated in Australia.
  • Directors must provide their date and place of birth to the Registrar - this information won’t be publically viewable.
  • Companies must publicly disclose their ultimate holding company, if they have one.
  • The Registrar will have the power to require companies to confirm that information provided to the Registrar is correct. 
  • The Registrar will have increased enforcement powers that include the ability to issue notes of inactivity or warning against companies on the register, to identify controllers of companies, and to de-register companies and prohibit persons from managing companies in certain additional circumstances.

Important dates

1 May

From this date, all applications to incorporate a New Zealand company will have to: 
  • provide all directors’ date and place of birth
  • have  at least one director that either
    • lives in New Zealand, or
    • lives in Australia and is a director of an Australian incorporated company
  • provide details of their ultimate holding company if applicable.
    New Zealand companies incorporated prior to 1 May 2015 will have until 28 October to comply with the new director requirements. 

1 July

From this date New Zealand companies incorporated prior to 1 May 2015 will now need to provide the following information when they file their annual returns:

  • the date and place of birth of every director (this information won’t be publically viewable)
  • details of their ultimate holding company information if applicable.
An annual return will not be able to be filed for a company if this information is not provided.  Failure to file an annual return may result in the Registrar removing a company from the register.

29 October

From this date New Zealand companies incorporated prior to 1 May 2015 must have at least one director who lives in New Zealand or Australia and if Australia, that individual must be a director of a company incorporated in Australia. Companies that do not comply may be removed from the register.

NZ Minimum wage rise on April 1

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister recently announced that from April 1 2015:
  • the adult minimum wage will increase from $14.25 to $14.75 an hour
  • the starting-out and training hourly minimum wages will increase from $11.40 to $11.80 an hour.
This is a good time to review your staff wages, budgets and payroll compliance.

5 key questions to ask yourself:
  1. Have you updated your payroll systems and calculations to reflect the higher wage? You’ll need to start using the new minimum wages in calculations from 1 April, even if that is in the middle of a pay cycle.
  2. Do you have employees on the starting-out wage who need to be moved to the adult minimum wage? If your young employees have been with you for six months or longer, or are involved in the training or supervision of other staff, you must pay them at least the adult minimum wage.
  3. Are your employees who are receiving the training minimum wage still in training? If they are no longer in training, and have taken on a full work-load, you must start paying them at least the adult minimum wage.
  4. Have you budgeted for the increase in pay for your minimum wage employees? Use the Employee Cost Calculator to get an idea of how the increase will impact your costs. You can also use the calculator to estimate the costs of hiring a new employee.
  5. Have you recently reviewed the way you are handling wages and deductions to make sure your payroll is compliant? Use the Compliance Matters tool to discover what requirements apply to you and your business.
If you are unsure how much you should be paying your employees or you think you might be paying too little, you can contact the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment Contract Centre on 0800 20 90 20.