Cyclone Cleanup - Paying Staff and Assessing Work

A priority in cyclone-affected areas (where shelter, food, safety and water is sorted) is turning attention to how we can help with getting as many people back to work as we can so this update is dedicated to that.   We may not have covered everything as there is a lot to think about so if there is anything specific you want us to provide an update on please email and we will do our best to get guidance out.

The fastest way to get in touch with our team remains via our landline 06 8785454 or email  All other contact details can be found on our website.  

Paying Staff 

With the basics of life having been prioritised next on the list is what support can be given to your staff so they can maintain this.  We are aware of some clients who have not been able to make wage payments last week due to no phones and internet.   This remains a priority with our community needing to purchase essentials and prices for day-to-day goods having been very quickly increased!  Scroll down for our initial advice and ideas, it is not exhaustive and is general in nature so please contact us with any specific questions. 

Wages for hours worked
If you have not yet processed pay that should have been done last week we encourage that this be made a priority as this is work that has been performed.  If you cannot get this done due to no power/internet etc ideas to help are:

  • See if your accountant can access and process for you or if they know any bookkeepers/payroll specialists that have capacity locally or remotely
  • Contact your bank to recreate the previous week's batch payment
  • Utilise workplaces or the homes of family and friends with power and connectivity if you can get anyone there 

Worst case consult with staff about what they urgently need and make a cash advance to be reconciled as soon as wages can be processed.  Agree on this in writing where you can as it is a variation!

If you have other ideas or have found creative solutions share them to our Facebook page, just remember that Employment Law still applies!  If you are looking to an outsourcing option please ensure the provider has a good understanding of legislation including the Holidays Act to try and mitigate other issues down the track!  Those challenges have not gone away.

Wages for this last week where work was not able to be performed
This is a more challenging question as there simply has not been the time to consult in most cases and that might remain the case for some of our employers for more days yet.  We have some clients who have lost homes and/or businesses.  The Government has put a civil defence payment in place but there is no news on other support yet.  We are keeping a close eye so while we wait the starting point is communications and you will not be to do too much of this!  

A starting point is;

  • Confirm to your team that last week’s wages are sorted, or what you are doing to sort those
  • Consider the overall message that you want your team to receive beyond this as you look at your options.  This includes;
    1. Factoring the long game - what is your culture and values and how do the options you are looking at align with this.   Good staff have been difficult to find.  Your actions now may impact your peoples long-term commitment to you and your business.
    2. What can you afford to do - what is your cash in bank situation, what can your bank help with - banks are office 0% overdrafts so make contact with them to know how they can help you, what insurances do you have in place, can these provide assistance
    3. What is in the terms and conditions of employment with your staff - these still apply, if you do not have force majeure/business interruption you remain liable to pay guaranteed hours unless you have mutually agreed an alternative to this.  

Once you know your options you can start to consult/talk with your team.  If you are at the point of saying that you cannot pay get your staff to be looking at eligibility for a Civil Defence Payment - this can always be paid back.  Get their ideas too, some staff may be happy to use annual holidays, others may be able to take unpaid leave.  Key is to consult and ask staff for their ideas and suggestions too so you can make informed decisions.

If you do make any one-off or guestimate payments please ensure you have written agreement in place to recover the money in case you still cannot process payroll in the next period or the person leaves and you need to recover any ovepayment.  Call the team at Grow HR if we can help you put this in place.

Getting people to work

Once pay is sorted the next question is who is ready and able to work.  Considerations are;

  • Can you operate? Do you have water, toilets, safe electrics for example.  If not can your operations be temporarily relocated or performed remotely?  Use networks and social media with what specific help you need.
  • What times will you operate?  With so many road closures traffic delays likely to be an issue
  • Who needs to be accommodated so they can get to work? Do any need to be accommodated during the working week?  Can other staff, friends and family help with this?  What might be needed for this like bedding and towels, who has supplies?
  • Who needs fuel to get to work - fuel is coming into our region but the queues are long.  Other areas are still waiting.  Can people car pool or do they know of best fuel options?
  • What vacancies or short term cover requirements do you have? - we have many in our community whose workplaces have disappeared or cannot operate in the short term.  Can you help out?  Let MSD know, use social media and your networks to get word out.  Recruitment agencies may have temps available too.
  • Do you need volunteers to help with clean up so you can get started?  Use social media and your networks and if more are needed get in touch with Volunteering HB for how they can help Once that is sorted come back to the pay questions above as they will still apply!  There are many willing to help they just need to know where...

Suspending or Ceasing Operations

If you cannot operate as normal your initial considerations are whether you are looking at a business interruption or restructuring/redundancy scenario.  If this is the case check your insurances for any cover you might have and then give one of the Grow HR team a call if you need advice on how to proceed.  

If you feel overwhelmed by all that needs to be done for your staff or are simply needing a fresh pair of ears get in touch - we are here to support you and your business as best we can.

If you have a need beyond HR and are unsure who to ask, consider giving us a call. We have a vast number of clients in many different industries, and it may be that we can assist to connect people together.  As an example one of our fantastic clients helped us yesterday get a generator and emergency supplies to cut off farm workers which we are so grateful for.   

Mental Health and Wellbeing Support

There will be a number of people that have mental health conditions triggered by these events or are simply affected by these events.  The free services are text 1737 or if you have xero assistance available to all of your team and their families through Xero Assistance Programme (XAP) until 23 March 2023. or email to get access.  Support can also be requested via GP's where they are contactable.


Government Support

Government has issued the following support and advice so far;

Civil Defence Payments - support for anyone affected by the cyclone who is without support, insurances etc

Information for Businesses - this briefing includes looking after employees, access to mental health and wellbeing services, operating, insurance, finance and banking and building and landlord responsibilities

If you are flooded remember to take as many photos as you can and get in touch with your insurer before you start disposing of damaged items for their guidance.