Dentists and staff returning from overseas

Information for people returning from overseas, including recently arrived is available on the MoH website.

Workplace guidance and business interruption

Of major concern at present is what are the requirements regarding staff leave and wages and also that of contractors in the event of needing to close down your dental practice.

We have contacted employment lawyer Sean O’Sullivan of Wotton Kearney (if you need further advice the conditions and his contact details can be found in the membership perks section of the NZDA website) and asked the following questions to which he has responded. We hope the responses are useful.

Q. Under Alert Level 4, what happens if our practice is open for emergency treatments and a staff member refuses to work?
A. Any employee must comply with a lawful request from an employer that is within the terms and conditions of the employment relationship. The only exception to this is if the employee reasonably believes that there are health and safety issues that would make complying with the request unsafe.  Consequently, an employer can insist on an employee carrying out work during the Level 4 Lockdown if there are no imminent health and safety considerations which might create a hazard and the work is permitted under the current Lockdown Regulations.

Q. If my insurer does not meet the cost of wages/salaries under the business discontinuance insurance whose responsibility is it to pay employees?
A. The employer remains responsible under the employment agreements to pay wages/salary. 

Tax relief

The government has announced that they will be working on business cashflow and tax measures which include:

  • increasing the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000 from 2020/2021 
  • increasing the small asset depreciation threshold from $500 to $1,000 — and to $5,000 for the 2020/21 tax year 
  • allowing depreciation on commercial and industrial buildings from 2020/2021 
  • removing the hours test from the In-Work Tax Credit (IWTC) from 1 July 2020.

Your accountant will be able to explain these matters to you.

The Inland Revenue website has some useful information on tax relief, with plans for more information including a Q&A to be posted in the coming week.

Employers & Manufacturers Association [EMA]

NZDA is seeking employment advice from EMA, including legal advice. Employment New Zealand advice is available here

Medical Assurance Society [MAS]

MAS have provided the following update on income protection and business risk insurance