PRINZ support during COVID-19

We are doing all we can at PRINZ to deal with the challenge of COVID-19. 

Many in our industry are facing unprecedented challenges as the wider economic impacts of COVID-19 take hold across New Zealand and the world. We are hearing about clients and organisations postponing or putting on hold PR programmes. We are hearing about layoffs. These should be temporary measures and we do expect to see the industry return to normalcy. 

Public relations and communications still is, and will always be, an essential part of businesses and organisations. 

Our primary concern is providing our members with support and advice on how to proceed through the pandemic. 

We’re closely monitoring the situation – both in terms of the overall economic impact as well as in our specific sector. We will be in level four of the pandemic soon. We are focusing on your safety and are looking at ways to minimise the risk of exposure from our education sessions and events, and are exploring more telecommunications technologies to help us deliver the experience you expect. 

Well-planned communications to people, employees, and businesses has never been more important than it is now, and we will play a guiding and supporting role wherever it is needed, for as long as it is required. 

PRINZ Jobs Board

We are aware that many people are frantically busy, while others have lost contracts and now have additional capacity. During this difficult time, access to the PRINZ Jobs Board will not be limited to members. There is the capacity for people to list both permanent, fixed-term and contract roles as well as short term project work at no charge. Contractors seeking work can also place a notice stating their availability and services at no charge. We would also encourage contractors who are PRINZ Members to ensure that they are listed on the PRINZ Consultancy Guide.

Please email violet@prinz.org.nz for more information. 

PRINZ Courses, Events and Webinars

  • PRINZ Courses and Divisional AGMs will be run virtually. Please visit the PRINZCourse & Event Calendar. The situation will be reviewed in May 2020. 
  • PRINZ has postponed all Networking Events until further notice. The situation will be reviewed in May 2020. 
  • Refunds will be available for postponed PRINZ Events and anyone unable to attend a PRINZ Course. Please contact the office.

Financial support

From a financial standpoint, we encourage you to reach out early to your banks or lending institutions so they can work with you to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 and manage disruption to your business. Most banks have the authority to provide assistance based on your needs and have made capital available to support businesses during this period. Please ensure you are set up for online banking in preparation for possible self-isolation restrictions.

We’re recommending to immediately speak to your accountant and see if you are eligible for the government’s assistance packages for businesses, including changes to ‘asset depreciation’.

Employers who have suffered, or expect to suffer, at least a 30% decline in revenue compared to last year for any month between January to June 2020, are able to claim $585.80 per week per full-time employee, and $350 per week per part-time employee, for a period of 12 weeks. 

This morning Cabinet agreed to remove the $150,000 cap and other limitations. The scheme is now available to all businesses no matter the size, and self-employed contractors. It has also been opened up to registered charities, NGOs and incorporated societies. Businesses less than a year old and those that have had a significant increase in revenue are also eligible for the scheme.

This Spinoff article explains how freelancers and sole traders can apply for a subsidy: From the article, it says – 

You’re eligible for wage subsidy if:

  • you have taken “active steps” to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on your business. Active steps might include activating a business continuity plan or seeking advice and support from a bank or financial advisors, the Chamber of Commerce, a relevant industry association, or a Regional Business Partner programme. If you’re talking to a financial advisor, it may be helpful to ask them to assist with reviewing actual or forecast decline in revenue (see next point).
  • you have experienced a 30% decline (or more) in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to Covid-19. So grab your bank statements for say, March 2019 and then figure what you would have made in March 2020. If it’s at least 30% less then you’re eligible. If you haven’t been operating for a year then comparison can be made to a previous month “that gives the best estimation of the revenue decline related to COVID-19”.  That means sole traders can review any month between January and June 2020, and compare it to last year (actual or forecast).

Here is the self-employed online application form

Click here for more information from Work and Income. 

Useful information

There have been a number of useful stories about what employers and workplaces can and should do as New Zealand’s response to COVID-19 ramps up.

From Newsroom: With COVID-19 reaching our shores last week, employers have a compelling reason to prepare for the legal issues coronavirus may raise for them and their employees. Liz Coats and Tim Clarke, Bell Gully partners in employment law, explain.

From The Spinoff: Amid the maelstrom, you can introduce some simple practical measures for health and infection control, writes former public health worker Richard Simpson.

National treasure and microbiologist, Siouxsie Wiles has written an open letter to New Zealanders making clear the gravity of the situation. She has been extraordinary throughout this crisis, making herself available to media and communicating in an incredibly clear and simple manner.

The Ministry of Health is providing regular updates, with all news, advice and resources here. The director-general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is doing an excellent job in communicating the latest developments. And Business New Zealand has a brief but useful checklist.

For a lighter read, NZ Herald social media and trending reporter, Vera Alves, has worked remotely for more than a year and has some great tips for staying sane and productive when working from home.

We’re here if you need us so do reach out if you have any questions. Otherwise, please stay safe and do your part to fight COVID-19.

    Ngā mihi – Kind regards

    PRINZ Board & PRINZ Office