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New Sick Leave Requirements: How Outsourcing Admin And Payroll To Remote Experts Can Lessen The Impact For NZ Businesses

Tuesday 8th December 2020, New Zealand. Following the recent government announcement that minimum sick leave for all NZ employees will be extended from five days per year to ten, some business owners have expressed concern over affordability during what has already been a tricky year.

While many businesses were already using their own discretion to offer more than minimum sick leave for employees, those who weren’t can lessen the financial impact of the change by using outsourced expertise, says business support specialist Irene Bennetts.

Bennetts, CEO of bookkeeping, accounting and virtual assistance agency Admin Army, says outsourcing in order to introduce better efficiency into a business’s administration can streamline, save money and help offset the cost of increased sick leave. Remote agencies are adept at this, because they offer a range of specialised experience from a whole team - which can be optimised for a business’s needs. They also use the most current cloud-based systems and can very quickly amend payroll and leave entitlements for businesses when required, without hours of manual setting up and data handling.

Bennetts says the new changes are a good opportunity for businesses to review what they are doing and make sure they’re operating under best practice. A vital first step is calculating what their true, current overhead costs are, so charge-out rates are correct.

“While some small businesses may inevitably need to increase costs, if they’ve factored total wage costs and true overheads into what they’re charging out, it shouldn’t be an issue to make a profit and offer their team better than the minimum requirements,” she said. “If this isn’t the case, we can help them get there”.

Bennetts says many businesses are still using manual systems, such as Excel spreadsheets to track leave or payroll information. Remote business support can assist companies to smoothly move onto cloud-based systems to better manage leave entitlements and streamline everything. This will be likely to save money, and help offset any extra costs.

“It’s a good time to consider whether outsourcing payroll instead of in-housing could mean reduced compliance and wage costs as there may well be a money-saving opportunity here,” she said.

Bennetts says her other tips for businesses dealing with entitlement changes are to make sure they have clear policies and procedures around taking sick leave and clear clauses in employment agreements, as well as taking the opportunity to consider how best to look after staff.

“Are there any areas you’d like to offer your team terms that are better than the Act? Are there other things you can provide to best look after their health and wellbeing, such as flu vaccinations?” she said.

“It doesn’t have to be all about the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff - a preventative approach also helps. If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we need to have ways to react quickly to the unexpected”.

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