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2020 law changes round-up - MBIE

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

What: Government-funded parental leave payments extended from 22 weeks to 26 weeks.

Unpaid parental leave, during which someone’s job is protected, has also increased. Parental leave depends on how long the person has worked for you before the baby’s due date, or the date they take over the care of a child:

26 weeks parental leave for people who worked an average of 10+ hours a week for six months or more.

52 weeks parental leave for people who worked an average of 10+ hours a week for 12 months or more.

The "keeping in touch" allowance has also gone up. Employees can now work up to 64 hours during their 26 weeks of parental leave payments, without losing eligibility for these government payments.

Why: To provide increased support for primary carers, including working parents with new babies and families taking on the permanent care of children under the age of six.

What you need to do: Make sure eligible employees can:

Take at least the legal minimum amount of unpaid parental leave, depending on how long they have worked for you.

Arrange to work up to 64 hours during their 26 weeks of paid parental leave if both you and your employee want to take this option. Remember, you pay them for hours worked, the government covers parental leave payments.

It’s a good idea to check and update your employment processes or policies. Then everyone knows what’s available and how to apply.

When: From 1 December 2020

What: Changes to the Privacy Act mean businesses must:

not destroy personal information if someone asks for information held about them

report serious privacy breaches

check personal information disclosed with overseas companies will have similar protection to New Zealand.

The revamped Act gives the Privacy Commissioner greater powers. This includes:

ordering a business to give a person their personal information

issuing a compliance notice if a business fails to comply with the Privacy Act.

Why: The Privacy Act aims to keep personal information safe and secure. The law updates reflect changes in technology and the ways business is done online and offline.

What you need to do: If someone asks for their personal information held by your business, you must respond within 20 working days.

If there’s a serious privacy breach in your business, you must report it to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

You can only disclose personal information to an overseas company if its country has similar protections to our Privacy Act. This does not apply to overseas cloud-based services.

Decide who in your business will take the lead on privacy matters. This could be you, an office manager, or another trusted worker. This person will be your privacy officer.

When: Start dates vary, ranging from 25 March 2020 to 12 May 2020.

What: Tax relief measures to help businesses and sole traders financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including:

Tax loss carry-back scheme. Businesses expecting to make a loss in the 2019/20 or 2020/21 tax years can offset that loss against profits made the year before.

Small business cashflow (loan) scheme for small businesses, sole traders and contractors.

Why: Part of the government’s COVID-19 support package for businesses and sole traders.

What you need to do: This depends on the type(s) of tax relief. Start by checking what’s available to your business and situation:

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