Gilmore Taylor Associates Ltd Blog

2018 Livestock Values

IRD Closure Notice

 

IRD closure notice 

To implement the next stage of our business transformation we need to temporarily close down some of our services. A lot of work has gone into determining the most suitable timing for this. We've considered things such as key filing dates; we wanted to avoid disruption around the 7 April due date.  We also spoke to tax agents, who said mid-April is a good time traditionally as there is a lull between end-of-year processing at the start of April and end-of-month processing.

Similar to when we switched on the new GST services back in February 2017, we need to shut down most of our customer-facing services for the upgrade. This means that myIR and our contact centre will be unavailable from the afternoon of Thursday 12 April until early on Tuesday 17 April. 

It's fair to say there's no good time for this but we hope this date causes the least amount of disruption for all our customers.

 

IRD Scam Alert

Click to go to Inland Revenue homepage

Inland Revenue have had several phishing emails reported to them this week. Most contain links in them that take you to fake forms that are trying to make you believe they belong to IRD.  One email is asking for you to reply to it with personal and credit card details.

These emails are sent from a variety of addresses.  If you have clicked on the form and submitted any personal or credit card data please contact your bank immediately. We also recommend you contact IDcare at www.idcare.org or phone 0800 201 415.

Follow this link to find out more.

http://www.ird.govt.nz/identity-security/scam/scam-alert.html?id=homepage

 

Office Closure

Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway: Employers have nothing to fear from law changes

 

Employers will no longer be able to opt out of multi-employment collective agreements and will be bound by a duty to conclude negotiations in good faith under changes to employment law.

But Workplace Relations Minister Iain Lees-Galloway says good businesses will have nothing to fear and will benefit from stronger conditions for workers.

The duty to conclude is one of several measures in the new legislation, announced today, that the Government hopes will strengthen collective bargaining and ultimately lift wages.

It was scrapped under the previous Government, and businesses have expressed concern that reinstating it might mean that unions could essentially force employers into collective agreements.

But Lees-Galloway said only one employer had tried - unsuccessfully - to use the provision of not having to conclude negotiations.

"The vast majority of employers have not needed to use that provision because they are good employers who want to stay at the table and reach a conclusion. The fact only one employer [has] used it speaks volumes as to why we don't need to have it in our legislation."

That case was Affco, which appealed the case to the Supreme Court. Last September the court rejected the appeal and found that the meat processor had unlawfully locked out meat workers when collective bargaining was taking place.

Lees-Galloway said not changing the law would leave the door open to treating unions unfairly.

"It would leave an option open to employers who simply do not want to have unions in their workplace. Sometimes you have to legislate to keep some of the fringe operators honest."

The Government's bill, announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, includes several other measures aimed at empowering workers.

After lobbying from New Zealand First, the controversial 90-day trial will be kept, but will only be available to businesses with fewer than 20 employees.

All employers will still be able to use probationary periods which, unlike 90-day trial periods, do not allow for unjustified dismissal.

It comes as small-business confidence has plunged to its lowest level in nine years. According to ANZ's quarterly Business Micro Scope survey, 29 per cent of small businesses were more pessimistic about the year ahead, a net fall of 43 per cent from the previous survey.

Others measures in the bill include:

• Guaranteed rest and meal breaks
• Ability to engage in low-level industrial action without the threat of pay deductions
• The right to the same conditions as other workers on a collective agreement, if you're a new worker
• Guaranteed pay and conditions, if you're a vulnerable worker and your employer changes
• A requirement to include pay rates in collective agreements
• A requirement for employers to pass on information about unions to prospective employees
• Greater protections against discrimination on the basis of being a union member
• Removing the ability of employers to opt out of multi-employer collective agreements

A union will be able to:
• Reasonably access a workplace to initiate collective bargaining
• Be given reasonable time in a workplace to conduct its duties

The bill is expected to have its first reading just before the 100-day period expires on February 3.

Lees-Galloway said the new rules around rest and meal breaks will include exceptions for workplaces such as air traffic controllers, where it was not practical for workers to take breaks at the same time.

"[The bill] sets some very tight criteria. Very few businesses will qualify, but it tries to address exactly the issue raised by air traffic controllers."?

The bill aimed to strengthen collective bargaining, lift union numbers and ultimately lift wages, as part of a wider Government programme.

Three aspects of the Government's 100-day manifesto have been given longer timeframes. They are:

• Restoring the right of film and television workers to collectively bargain
• Removing the automatic passing on of collective terms and conditions to non-union workers
• Providing foreign workers working for foreign companies in New Zealand the same protections, such as minimum wage rights, as New Zealand workers.

Lees-Galloway has previously announced a joint working group to work through the issues around the so-called "Hobbit law" in the film and television industry, but they were not expected to be resolved by the 100-day deadline.

He said the automatic passing on of terms and conditions had technical issues and was now in the 12-month programme.

The Government still wanted to ensure foreign workers in New Zealand had employment protections, in response to Chinese engineers who came to New Zealand to work on locomotives purchased from China, but who were not paid properly.

"We're looking at a different way of achieving that rather than legislation," Lees-Galloway said, adding that he was confident of resolving any issues the policy may raise around free-trade deals.

Other workplace polices have already been put into law, such as lifting the minimum wage to $16.50 an hour by April, and extending paid parental leave to 26 weeks by 2020.

"For the past 30 years, working people have received a diminishing share of economic growth, and we're trying to restore some balance," Lees-Galloway said.

"It is certainly my hope that by giving unions more tools to be able to better represent their members and bargain for better wages that the proposition of joining a union will look a lot better."

The Government still plans to abolish youth rates, but that is in the body of work to be completed in the next 12 months, along with industry-wide fair pay agreements.

By: Derek Cheng

derek.cheng@nzhearld.co.nz

 

Public Holidays 2018

Public Holidays 2018

 

New Zealand Public Holidays

Actual Date

Observed Date

(2017)

Christmas Day

25 December

Monday 25 December

Boxing Day

26 December

Tuesday 26 December

 

 

Observed Date

(2018)

New Year's Day

1 January

Monday 1 January

Day after New Year's Day

2 January

Tuesday 2 January

Waitangi Day

6 February

Tuesday 6 February

Good Friday

Varies

Friday 30 March

Easter Monday

Varies

Monday 2 April

ANZAC Day

25 April

Wednesday 25 April

Queen's Birthday

1 Monday in June

Monday 4 June

Labour Day

4 Monday in October

Monday 22 October

Christmas Day

25 December

Tuesday 25 December

Boxing Day

26 December

Wednesday 26 December

 

Christmas Day, Boxing Day New Year's day and Day after New Year's Day:

These public holidays are observed on the actual day when they fall on a weekday.

When they fall on a Saturday or Sunday-

·         If the employee would normally have worked on the Saturday/Sunday, the public holiday is observed on the Saturday/Sunday

·         If the employee would not normally have worked on the Saturday/Sunday, the public holiday is observed on the following Monday/Tuesday

Waitangi and ANZAC Day:

The public holidays for ANZAC Day and Waitangi Day are "Mondayised" if they fall on a Saturday or Sunday.

If you require further information or assistance regarding Annual Holidays and leave, please contact our office.

 

Get Cyber Smart

Get wise this Cyber Smart Week

 

This week is Cyber Smart Week in New Zealand and we thought we'd take the opportunity to share some strategies and simple steps you can take to keep safe online. Xero Software has partnered with CERT NZ – the Government's Agency that helps improve cyber security in New Zealand, to educate you on the importance of staying secure online.

 

According to a study from Norton cybercrime costs more than $126 billion a year globally. A further 680 million people have been victims of online crime, so getting the basics wrong online comes with huge risk.

Here are CERTZ's top tips to ensuring you keep yourself safe online.

 

Always use strong, unique passwords

Hackers can crack a weak password in minutes so it's essential that you have strong, long passwords. It's also important to use a different password for each site. Having a unique password helps prevent a compromise of one login becoming a compromise of many. Using personal information as your password is also a big no-no. Using your name, your pet's name or your birthday should be avoided at all costs as hackers can easily find this information online (especially through social media). To create a strong password use numbers, letters and symbols and make sure it is at least 10 characters long. Password manager software can help you manage your multiple logins and make it easy to maintain good password practices.

 

Use two factor or multi-factor authentication

Two factor or multi-factor authentication is like having a second lock for your front door. This means you need to present at least two separate items to gain access. These could include a password and entering a unique code that is generated by an app on your smart device or sent to you by text (SMS).

 

Update your operating system (OS)

Cyber threats are changing all the time so it is important that you keep abreast of updates. Up-to-date operating systems and apps are your first line of defence against many bugs and viruses. Updating operating systems is one of the easiest ways to protect yourself. Just make sure that when an update for an app or your OS pops up on any of your devices, install it right away. You can even set your system preferences to install updates automatically. Then you don't have to think about it.

 

Check your privacy settings

Consider what you share on social media as hackers can use your personal information to steal your identity or get into your online accounts. Ensure that your privacy settings are set so that only your friends and family can see your details. Another thing to keep in mind is that some websites ask you to set some account recovery questions in case you forget your password. Make sure the answers to these aren't posted online or on social media – for example, the school you attended.

 

Three common scams and how to avoid them

 

Advanced Fee Fraud

If you ever have to pay money to get money, it's advanced fee fraud. This includes lottery and inheritance scams, and the Nigerian Prince/Diplomat that needs your help to get his gold/diamonds/cash out of the country. The only person that will profit if you respond to one of these emails is the fraudster. If you're unsure about anything like this please contact our team.

 

Money Laundering

If you ever receive money into your bank account from someone you've not met and know in person, and they ask you to send it to them in another country using Western Union, MoneyGram, or other money transfer service, it's very likely you're laundering the proceeds of a crime. Chances are that this is money stolen from another person's bank account and you're being manipulated into being the "money mule" to send the money to the criminal that stole it.

 

Cold Calls

Beware of cold calls. Whether it's supposedly from the "Microsoft help desk" to tell you you have a problem with your computer, or someone with an investment opportunity too good to miss, the caller's objective is to steal money from you. Legitimate companies don't work like this. No technology help desk is going to call you about your problem, you have to call them.

 

Security is a high priority in any business. We all need to take responsibility to protect our data with strong security controls, investing the time and resources to strengthen online security every day.

 

New WorkSafe Webiste

 

WorkSafe is launching a new www.worksafe.govt.nz site on the 29 November. The new site brings together WorkSafe's previous websites.

www.worksafe.govt.nz

www.saferfarms.org.nz

www.construction.worksafe.govt.nz

www.forestry.worksafe.govt.nz

www.manufacturing.worksafe.govt.nz

and the majority of content on  www.energysafety.govt.nz.

 

Redirects will be in place for all of the most used pages on the legacy sites, so you'll be taken straight to the information you are looking for. If a redirect isn't in place, you'll be taken to a page with relevant search results. If you have previously bookmarked pages you will need to update these over time.

 

The new site has been developed to work on mobile and tablet devices and provide a significantly enhanced user experience.

 

 

Preparing for the Christmas break

It's a wrap: Preparing for the Christmas break

The Christmas run-up can be frantic for small business owners. It's important to think about business basics like paying taxes and staff before you start decorating the tree.

Claiming Christmas expenses

Staff parties

Throwing a staff party can be a great way to see out the year and celebrate successes, but there are tax considerations to think about.

You can claim some costs of a party or staff gifts, but they may be subject to fringe benefit tax. This is paid on benefits workers get as a result of their employment.

Half your holiday party expenses may be claimed in your GST and income tax returns if the expenses relate to your business. Expenses can include:

    • food and drink
    • entertainment
    • venue hire

 

Entertainment expenses guide (external link) - Inland Revenue

Business gifts and entertainment

Generally, you can claim the costs of gifts as a business expense, eg hampers or gift vouchers. But you may need to pay fringe benefit tax on these gifts.

A meal out provided by the business is an entertainment expense and you can claim 50% as a business expense.

Giving to charity

You can deduct 100% of the cost of entertainment you provide to members of the public for charitable purposes. For example, if your business donates food to a party at a hospital.

Paying staff over the holidays

When there's a public holiday on a day your employee usually works, they're entitled to a paid day off - no matter how long they've worked for you.

You can only require employees to work a public holiday if it's written in their employment agreements. Also, if they agree to work, you must:

·         pay them at least time and a half 

·         give them another paid day off later.

Mondayisation

When a public holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday, employees who don't normally work then get the following Monday as their paid public holiday - this is called Mondayisation.

The public holidays for the upcoming Christmas break, with the day of the week they fall on, are as follows:

·         Christmas Day - Monday, 25 December 2017

·         Boxing Day - Tuesday, 26 December 2017

·         New Year's Day - Monday, 1 January 2018

·         Day after New Year's Day - Tuesday, 2 January 2018.

 

Working on a public holiday

An employee is entitled to a full alternative day off if they work on a public holiday - no matter how many hours they worked that day.

But they don't get an alternative day off - also called a day in lieu - if:

·         they only ever work public holidays

·         they wouldn't normally have worked that day

·         they were on call but didn't work, and being on call didn't stop them doing what they wanted to with their day.

 

 

New Government, New Employment Laws – More costs for Employers…

 

With the coalition deals now signed off and the new Government officially sworn in, it is time to dissect the proposed changes and what they will mean for businesses. 

Already announced is the intention to increase the minimum wage to $20 per hour by April 2021, starting with an increase to $16.5 per hour in April 2018. Not surprisingly this has led to mixed reactions from business owners and employees.

Many business owners have expressed concern about how this will impact their costs and are concerned that this would need to be passed on to their customers.

There has been suggestion that the Government will introduce tax cuts to help small businesses deal with this increase, however nothing has been confirmed at this stage.  Without assistance to counterbalance the increases, there is a high chance that businesses would need to inflate prices at the disadvantage of the consumer, or face making employees redundant.

The other significant change which has been announced is the increase in paid parental leave. Currently at 18 weeks, the increase is set to be completed in increments, with an increase to 22 weeks by July 2018 and then a further increase to 26 weeks by July 2020.

Prime Minister Jacinda Adern exclaimed that she hoped that increase in time off would make it more likely for an employee to return to work, but also acknowledges that finding someone to replace staff for longer could prove tougher for some businesses.

The Green Party are advocating for an increase in sick leave days from 5 to 10 days per year and would like to improve the rights of casual or temporary workers, as well as introducing an equal pay agreement for woman in the workplace.

New Zealand First support the increase to the minimum wage however they want to take this further by abolishing the starting rate and removing a secondary tax on employment. They are also promoting a change to redundancy provisions and want to set a minimum redundancy notice provision at double what is currently in place, up to 13 weeks. They have also suggested introducing a paid paternal leave of 2 weeks which would increase over time to 4 weeks. They are the only party to have suggested changes with regards to health and safety and are requesting a review of the Health and Safety at Work Act aiming to remove the bureaucratic process from this.

At this time there is still a lot of uncertainty around which policies will progress and which will fall to the wayside, the only confirmed changes are the increase to minimum wage and paid parental leave.

As new changes are introduced we will update you and advise how they may affect your business.