News

Network News May/June 2015

Budget 2015

As part of our ongoing support for our membership, CNA commissioned BERL (Business and Economic Research Ltd) to provide commentary on this year’s Budget and its effect on community and voluntary groups.

Click and watch Chief Economist, Dr Ganesh Nana provide an overview and visit our website to read the full report.

Being a Fair and Reasonable Employer in Times of Uncertainty 
by Denise Lormans, Chair of CNA and Manager, Southland Community Law Centre

When your organisation is facing difficult decisions because of financial constraints, it is essential that you talk to your staff as you know that there may be a problem.

As employers you must act in good faith and act as a fair and reasonable employer would. This means that you should tell staff when things are starting to look grim.

The organisation should work with staff to ensure that they know what is going on at all times.  It is our experience that most of the time staff will actually come up with some fairly outstanding ideas on how to manage under financially stressful times.

As employers you should also update staff regularly about what the organisation is actually planning to do to support staff during any “transitional” or liquidation process.  This could be as simple as having regular meetings to talk about progress, or as complex as arranging registration with employment agencies for staff.

As employers you must follow the clauses of all employment agreements. Things to consider:
If your organisation is looking at restructuring, you need to be sure to follow the correct process.  You should seriously consider getting legal advice to ensure that you draw up a plan and know what the organisation needs to do through the process. False redundancies or incorrect processes are the cause of innumerable personal grievances. The correct process should also be covered within the employment agreements.

  • Do the employment agreements for your organisation have a redundancy clause?  If so, they must clarify and dictate how redundancy or disengagement will occur. You must stick to this.
  • Do employment agreements have a line that states that jobs are “subject to availability of funding”? If your organisation does have such a clause, what does your policy say about the process of letting staff go when faced with reduced funding/defunding?
  • How much actual notice do you have to give staff about the end of the employment relationship? This should be clearly outlined in employment agreements.
  • Does your organisation have enough money in reserve to pay out all annual leave, special leave and long service leave entitlements and accruals?  If not, you have an obligation to source funds, liquidate assets or declare bankruptcy if you can’t pay staff what you owe them when they leave.  Staff could then become primary creditors if they are still owed money.
  • What are the obligations your organisation has in regard to providing support for staff to find new jobs?  Do you have a policy that states the organisation will allow staff time off for job interviews without deducting that time from leave accruals?
  • Does your organisation have a policy that means that the organisation will assist staff to register with employment agencies or websites?

For further information Denise may be contacted at denise@comlawsth.co.nz

On Air with Ros

Download and listen to the most recent broadcast of Collaborative Voices where Ros speaks to Paul Barber about inequality and poverty.  Paul is a Policy Advisor with the NZ Council of Christian Social Services (NZCCSS) and part of the coordinating group of the Equality Network.

Free Research for Not for Profits

Need a problem solved, a question answered or an idea developed?  Any New Zealand not-for-profit organisation with fewer than 50 employees, can apply to the Metro ITP Voucher Scheme and receive subsidies of up to $5,000 in free research or consultancy assistance from the six largest institutes of Technology and Polytechnics, known as the Metro Group.  Interested?  For more information visit http://metros.ac.nz/

Upcoming Conferences and Workshops

Rising to the Challenge – Hamilton, 29 – 30 July 2015
Community Waikato invite you to this conference for the Waikato social services sector. Come and be inspired by your peers, share your challenges, ideas, plans and learning, hear about new ways of doing things, take a leadership role in discussing the issues that matter to you organisation. Visit http://bit.ly/1HxdpSM to find out more and to register.

Our Place – Wellington, 29 June – 1 July 2015
Ever wondered what possibilities we could open up if we stepped outside of our ‘sectors’ and thought about creating accessible, inclusive communities together?  This conference jointly hosted by Inclusive NZ, Inspiring Communities and Be. Institute, is an opportunity for all community organisations, government agencies, the business sector,and community members to come together and have a new conversation.Visit http://www.ourplace2015.com/to find out more and to register.

Creating Transformative Change in Practice Organisations – Palmerston North, 2 – 4 November 2015
This three day strengths-based workshop facilitated by Massey University and Te Aroha Noa will enable practitioners from diverse backgrounds and agencies to explore change processes when working with individuals, groups and families.  For more information contact Sheryl Kirikiri S.Kirikiri@massey.ac.nz

To blog, or not to blog – that is the question

Here are the links to four of the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop.  Interesting reading…
You can turn the wheel on the bridge of the Queen Mary, but it takes a long time to bring the ship around. by Ros Rice, Executive Officer, Community Networks Aotearoa
Deja vu or have we been here before? by Tara D’Sousa, National Manager, Social Services Providers Aotearoa
The art of getting lost by Tess Casey, CEO, Inclusive NZ
Relationships-broken and building by Peter Glensor, General Manager, HuiE!

And don’t forget, we’re here to help.  If you have any problems or issues, or just need some information, please don’t hesitate to contact Ros at the CNA office on Wellington (04) 472 3364 or eo@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz  Both Ros and Fionn are here to provide support to our membership and always welcome your contact.

Photo: bruceandrobyn