NZSA Covid-19 Security Update – Essential Workers Leave Payment Scheme & PPE

The following information is provided to assist our members through this evolving situation. We would also like to clarify that the information we provide is from the latest government press releases and from contacts within government agencies. In some cases our information may be in conflict with what appears on the official Government Covid-19 website as the site is updated retrospectively every one or two days.

 

Essential Workers Leave Payment Scheme

This is a new payment introduced today and will have direct relevance to those security providers who have not met the qualification criteria for the wage subsidies (i.e. not suffered a significant revenue decline) but have staff on leave as a direct result of:

  1. Workers who are self-isolating because they have contracted the virus or have come into contact with someone who has contracted the virus (or have a dependent they need to care for who is sick or self-isolating).
  1. Workers deemed at higher risk if they contract Covid-19, and as such should self-isolate.
  1. Workers who have household members who are deemed at higher risk if they contract Covid-19.

The scheme offers the same rates as the Wage Subsidy Scheme of $585.80 per week for full-time workers and $350.00 per week for part-time workers.

Details on eligibility and submitting claims can be found on the Work and Income website.

 

PPE

Several private sector businesses and benefactors have stepped in and arranged 11 charter flights of PPE sourced from China with the first flight arriving last night. The order includes some 41 million face masks as well as gloves, gowns, eye protection and sanitiser. Delivery will be prioritised to front-line health services but volumes should be more than sufficient to meet all essential service providers.

If you urgently require PPE can you please email gary@security.org.nz with an indication of the items and volumes required and we will endeavour to secure a bulk consignment specifically for the security sector.

 

Labour Resources

For those not aware, we have expanded our MSD Skills for Industry Work Broker Programme so that we now target finding employment for those who have been displaced or made redundant through current events and not just those on a benefit with MSD.

We currently have in excess of 700 vacancies for security officers registered with us on behalf of our members. Whilst demand is largest in the main cities, vacancies are nationwide.

We are advertising and promoting our service across a wide range of channels and last week alone our team received over 100 expressions of interest from individuals seeking employment. Andrea and Napat are working very hard to follow up with these individuals, to conduct background screening to ensure suitability for the industry and to then refer them to our members for interviewing and potentially employment. As part of our process we are submitting and paying for the CoA application for the candidate (they complete the paperwork through our portal).

If you need staff and aren’t registered with us please contact Andrea on andrea@security.org.nz or on 0274 502020.

 

Wage Subsidies

There is still a lot of confusion around the ability for businesses to claim the wage subsidies and the process to be followed. The NZSA HR Advisory Service provider, Livewire HR, have provided a blog with relevant tips and information, including a template for explaining the process to your employees for their consideration.

Stay safe and keep well.

From the NZSA team.

NZSA Covid-19 Security Update – PPE & Workers for Industry

PPE

From discussion with various suppliers and government departments we believe that the supply of PPE will be an ongoing problem so encourage our members to order in volumes sufficient to meet extended time frames beyond the proposed conclusion of the lock-down and ensure that existing stocks are closely managed and forward orders placed well in advance.

 

Workers for Industry

The NZSA is working hard to find workers to meet the 500+ vacancies that we currently have recorded on behalf of our members. We have job listings with all major employment sites, including with MSD, and have been in contact with multiple industry associations asking that they refer employees faced with redundancy to our website.

We are also actively promoting security industry employment opportunities via Facebook and LinkedIn and request the support of our members in promoting our postings to their wider social and business networks.

Stay safe and keep well.

From the NZSA team.

NZSA Covid-19 Security Update – Essential Services, Wage Subsidy & PPE

Please find detailed below latest information provided by government agencies. We note that latest guidance may differ from earlier communications and that members need to be aware of policy updates.

 

Essential Services

Security Services are defined as essential services however latest guidance states “Undertaking routine maintenance and supply of non essential resources would not constitute essential service, however providers can maintain and sustain a minimum capability to respond to urgent requests for supplies and/or repairs to key infrastructure. For any businesses that are designated as essential, or asked to maintain and sustain a minimum capacity, it is expected that strict protocols are in place for health and safety measures and contact tracing”.

Our interpretation is that guard, patrol and monitoring services are not impacted however approved security technician duties exclude routine maintenance and non essential installations.

 

Employer Wage Subsidy

Changes to the Wage Subsidy were introduced on the 27th March and included the removal of the Leave Payment Scheme. The rationale for this was that the scheme was originally set up when few people were in self isolation and was no longer fit for purpose.

This has however left a significant void in that funding to cover the wage cost of staff either in self isolation or directly impacted by Covid-19 is only available to businesses who have experienced at least a 30% drop in income.

Government has advised that is is aware of the issue and is working on arrangements for those in essential work who require sick leave due to Covid-19 and will be announcing further measures to cover this in coming days.

We are aware that this impacts onto many of our members and will provide an update as soon as it is available.

We also remind members who have experienced a significant drop in work volumes that financial support is readily available and full details, including claim forms, are available on the MSD website.

 

PPE

Members will be aware from the press coverage that this is a continuing area of frustration with incoming supplies being prioritised toward front-line health care workers.

The new government agency being overseen by previous Air NZ CEO Rob Ffyfe is setting up a website detailing suppliers of PPE and current stock levels and encouraging essential service providers to place orders on a controlled supply basis. It was indicated the site would be up and running by today however details are not available at the time of this communication. Again we will relay details to our members on receipt.

Stay safe and keep well.

From the NZSA team.

NZSA Security Business Update

Whilst our recent focus has correctly been on navigating the ever changing and rapidly evolving Covid-19 landscape, we also need to be mindful that normal business matters cannot be ignored, particularly around legislative compliance and ensuring continuation of critical administrative functions.

 

Increase in Minimum Wage

The minimum wage increases to $18.90 effective 1st April 2020.

 

Statutory Holiday Entitlements

The following Statutory Holidays fall during April:

– Good Friday                     Friday 10th April

– Easter Monday                 Monday 13th April

– Anzac Day                        Saturday 25th April

– Anzac Day observance    Monday 27th April

Southland Anniversary Day is also observed on Tuesday 14th April.

Employers must ensure compliance with all entitlements for staff working on those days or who are normally rostered to work on those days.

If you have any questions or concerns about payroll or HR matters, please remember that NZSA members can receive free expert advice by contacting our HR Advisory Service:

Phone:       HR LIVE (0800 475 483)

Email:        nzsa@livewirehr.co.nz

 

Launch of Integrity Line Service for Members

The launch of the NZSA Integrity Line service originally targeted for the 1st April will be slightly delayed but we expect to have a full overview of the service, and template staff letters and posters, ready for delivery to our members within the next few weeks.

We appreciate that the timing may not be ideal for some of our members but for those who have lost work this may be an opportunity to focus on the business rather than working in it, and the Integrity Line service would provide a good news story for employees given that it is focused on the safety and welfare of staff.

 

NZSA Membership Invoices

Over the next week we will be issuing our invoices for the 2020/2021 membership year. Again we appreciate that the timing is not ideal, however we also recognise the importance of maintaining core functions and ensuring individual business financial viability.

Please note that we are happy for the invoices to be paid by monthly instalment or to arrange deferred payment where necessary and request that you contact Tacia with your invoice number on nzsa@security.org.nz or 0273 817724 to discuss options.

We would also like to suggest to all non NZSA members receiving our communications that this may be a good time to assess the value of membership. The application forms are available on our website and at this time we do not require the statutory declaration to be JP witnessed.

Stay safe and keep well.

From the NZSA team.

Covid-19 Security Update – PPE, Electronic Security Providers with Resource Capacity and Recognition for our Workers

PPE
Despite government assurances that PPE will be available for all essential service providers it is evident that there are shortages impacting across a number of industries and that there will be some supply chain delays. The issuing of PPE is being managed through MBIE and District Health Boards with priority placed on front-line health care and emergency service workers.

We have registered our industry need for masks, gloves and sanitiser but do not expect an immediate resolution to the existing supply constraints.

We are also working with a local importer of hygiene products and they are hopeful of being able to provide package offers to NZSA members by Monday. This will be communicated as soon as we receive confirmation.

Electronic Security Providers with Resource Capacity
We have received advice from a national service provider that they may be seeking additional resource capacity to maintain service coverage for large essential service entities. They have asked if we can identify smaller regionally-based members who have resource capacity and may be able to assist. If interested, please contact Gary on gary@security.org.nz and he will facilitate an introduction.

Recognition for our Workers
Whilst we may be at the very early stages of the Level 4 Alert lockdown, we believe it is appropriate to recognise the efforts of all involved in adapting to such a rapidly evolving situation and in particular, the superlative efforts of our security staff operating at the front line.

News articles this week have regularly featured security staff performing critical duties in supporting the ongoing provision of essential services, be it directing traffic at drive-thru Covid-19 testing centres, keeping hospitals and supermarkets safe and secure or ensuring on-going security of buildings. Without exception those who have appeared on the news have been well presented and utilising PPE, professional in the performance of their duties and a real credit to the security industry.

This is a situation we never wish to see repeated however it has been heartening to receive positive feedback from many government agencies, heads of other industry associations and our customers, recognising the value of the services being provided by our workers and complementing the industry and our people on the way we have stood up to date.

There are challenges we still face in securing PPE and adapting to an ever-changing environment but we should be proud of what we are achieving and the role we are playing.

Please note that we will available outside business hours and over the weekend if you have any urgent requests for guidance or assistance. Contact Gary on gary@security.org.nz or 021 122 9606.

Stay safe and keep well.

From the NZSA team.

Covid-19 Security Update – Licences, PPE, Training and Tax Payments

We apologise for the bombardment of emails however from feedback received it appears that the regular update of information is valued and we will continue to provide regular updates as required.

Security Licence Update
We have today received advice from the PSPLA regarding licence applications, see below:

“My team are now going through all applications that have been submitted and processed (payment approved) since the 21 February 2020 and they will receive an email confirming their application and the direction from our Authority.

All applications that are currently waiting to be processed by our administration team (payment by credit card approved) should be processed this afternoon. Once the application payment has been approved my team will action an email to the individual same day.

Any further applications should have both employer and employee emails just in case.

If the application is completed correctly and payment is approved then an email will be sent out to the individual/company, it should take 2-3 days.”

PPE Update
Our earlier email provided instruction to contact your local public health team. We have been advised by several members that calls to the Auckland public health team have resulted in referral to the DHB. We have sought urgent advice from both the DHB and the Prime Ministers office and will relay any update as soon as we receive it.

Industry Training Update
We have been informed that some providers are still delivering Unit Standards 27360 and 27364 via distance learning. Several advise that they are unable to enroll further learners however any members who wish to discuss delivery options further can contact C4 Group.

Tax Payments Update
If your business is unable to pay its taxes on time due to the impact of Covid-19 the IRD will write off any penalties and interest. You don’t need to contact them immediately, just when you can.

It would be helpful if you could continue to file however, as the information is used to make correct payments to people, and to help the government to continue to respond to what is happening in the economy.

Click here for updated advice to business from the IRD.

NZSA support for ensuring continuity of security labour resource for our members

Whilst today’s business environment is extremely challenging, we in security are one of the fortunate business sectors to be deemed an essential service and with some degree of certainty for our businesses and employees.

Demands on our services will differ business to business and sector by sector however we are already seeing an unprecedented demand for security officers to provide a wide range of essential services during the lock down period and potentially the foreseeable future.

The NZSA is widening our existing Skills for Industry Work Broker initiative to focus on ensuring continuity of a labour resource for our members providing essential services. This will include full-time, part-time and casual positions.

We will continue to support members signed to our existing programme with continued support and milestone payments for existing and future MSD candidate placements however most of our focus will be on identifying “fit for purpose” candidates from those businesses and industry sectors that are facing retrenchment and lay-offs and being able to refer those candidates to our members who desperately require additional workers.

We are working closely with MSD, the Student Association, Etu and the wider Business and Industry Association community to ensure that we are reaching those workers in other industry sectors who are seeking employment and promoting the security industry as a great option for them.

The NZSA team will:

  • Provide candidates with an overview of the industry including an understanding of the licensing requirements
  • Inform candidates of the various roles we are looking to fill and provide reassurance around their personal safety
  • Provide telephone screening to ensure that candidates are “fit for purpose”
  • Apply for the candidates Temporary Licence, including payment of the application fee
  • Provide details of recommended candidates to our members seeking staff.

If you need staff please contact us on careers@security.org.nz and provide information including numbers, region, overview of duties, nature of contract (full-time, part-time or casual) and any other pertinent detail.

Should you have any questions please contact Andrea on andrea@security.org.nz or 0274 502020.

Covid-19 – Your Security Questions Answered

Earlier today we issued a guidance document confirming that Security Services are defined as an Essential Service.

We appreciate that there is not a lot of supporting detail at this time and our contacts within Government advise that this is still a work in progress and they are currently working on setting up a call centre and 0800 line to respond to questions. Further updates specific to individual industry sectors are expected over coming days.

We also thank you for the support received from our members and have provided below a response to common questions that we are receiving.

Further updates will be provided as required.

If you have any concerns, questions or just need a chat, then please don’t hesitate to contact our CEO Gary on gary@security.org.nz or 021 122 9606 or nzsa@security.org.nz.

 

Will we be able to source security equipment to continue provision of services?
Yes, we expect so but subject to product in stock. Most suppliers/distributors we have talked to will continue operating as a supplier to an Essential Service.

What obligations do security providers have to their staff?
Employers must take all possible measures to ensure the safety of their staff including putting in place alternative ways of working to keep employees safe. This may include issuing and checking use of PPE, shift based working (if an option), staggered meal breaks and physical distancing. Staff must also be advised to report any concerns if they are required to attend a site that they consider is not safe.

Will the PSPLA still be processing licence applications?
Yes, the PSPLA will continue providing services with urgency placed on turn-around of applications that meet initial screening criteria.

The published list of Essential Services has a lot of gaps and ambiguity. Can we get more detail?
This is an evolving situation and as of yesterday morning the list did not even exist. Government advice is that more specific information for each sector is being developed and will be published shortly. They are also setting up a call centre and 0800 line. We will ensure members are kept posted on developments.

Are temporary licence holders covered under Essential Services?
Yes, all workers with a full or temporary licence are covered by Essential Services designation.

What will happen with our tech’s who are enrolled in the Level 3 NZC Electronic Security?
We have been advised by ETEC/Shift, who deliver the qualification, that they will continue to support learners during the lockdown as the tutors can support online learning from home. Unfortunately the launch of the Level 4 qualification will now be delayed.

Covid-19 Update

As you will be aware the situation regarding Covid-19 is a rapidly evolving one.

The NZSA has implemented a range of measures to ensure continuity in the level of service provided to our members. Our work with regulators, government, standards development, qualifications authority, media comment and providing advice and support to our members will continue with face-to-face meetings largely replaced with audio and video conferencing. As part of this we will continue to provide our members with timely and relevant updates.

Designation of Security Services as “Essential Services”
We have communicated with Government to clarify essential service status for all security workers in the event that we move to either Level 3 or Level 4 and a lock down is implemented.

The government has released a schedule of those businesses deemed to be essential services and including security services.

Whilst the guidelines are rather vague, our interpretation is that all workers who hold a current security licence (Certificate of Approval) will be covered under the essential service designation. This will therefore cover security guards, security technicians, security consultants, PI’s and monitoring operators. We do not believe there will be any restrictions to the services being provided by those staff (for example technicians can still perform installs as well as servicing).

It should be current practice however we recommend that all staff carry/display their CoA’s whilst on duty as evidence of their status as a licensed security employee should they be challenged by the public or authorities.

Processing of Security Licence applications
The PSPLA have confirmed that procedures are being implemented to ensure the fast tracking of licence applications.

Temporary licence applications should be turned around within 48 hours subject to the applicant passing the criminal history check. Applications for a full licence will still require police vetting which will add approximately five days to the process.

Our recommendation is that staff carry the letter from the PSPLA confirming approval with them whilst on duty pending the uplift of their licence from the nominated Post Office.

Implementation of Employee Transition Scheme
With the rapidly changing social and economic environment, we are seeing wildly varying impacts on providers within the security industry. Whilst many providers, particularly those in the guarding sector, are seeing an unprecedented increase in demand and are urgently seeking additional staff, there are others who have lost significant contracts and even with the Government support package are facing staff lay-offs.

It makes sense that we look to keep those workers who are faced with losing their current employment within the industry by finding them employment with those who are looking for work. That may be achieved either through a temporary or permanent placement or even on subcontract and we envisage working with individual providers on a case-by-case basis to achieve the best solution for employers and employees.

If you are currently in the position of having a surplus of staff or require staff, please let either Gary Morrison (gary@security.org.nz) or Andrea Charlton (andrea@security.org.nz) know and we will do our best to assist in addressing your requirements.