Top tips for businesses

Getting back to business as usual and being prepared for future events is an important part of earthquake recovery and resilience. If the recent quake has interrupted your business, here are some things that you can do, and some things the Earthquake Recovery Information Centre (ERIC) can help you with.

Public Trust Building, Wellington.

Earthquake Support Subsidy

The subsidy is available to help you retain your staff and continue to pay them if you are unable to access your workplace, or resume operations during recovery. It’s payable for a maximum of eight weeks (backdated to 14 November 2016) while cordons are in place. 

It covers a lump sum of $500 gross per week for full-time employees (20 hours or more a week), and $300 gross per week for part-time employees (less than 20 hours a week). The employer is responsible for paying ACC levies, PAYE and holiday pay, and any other employment-related expenses relating to the employee(s).

Who is eligible?

You can get the subsidy if you’re unable to access your workplace due to cordons in place in Molesworth Street, Tory Street and Queensgate Mall, and unable to relocate the business elsewhere.

If you’re outside these areas, you may be able to get the subsidy if you can provide evidence of a sudden, large and sustained drop in revenue due to earthquake-related impacts. Other forms of assistance may also be available. Visit or email ERIC at eric@wcc.govt.nz to discuss your eligibility.

You can’t get the subsidy if you:

  • can continue to operate and/or meet your obligations to pay your employees
  • have business interruption/continuity insurance that will pay for continuation of wages
  • are an overseas based employer
  • are a branch of a larger organisation that also operates outside the area
  • are a government agency or government-related organisation.

Access to Closed Buildings

The cordons are in place to ensure public safety. It may be possible to arrange quick visits accompanied by inspectors during office hours. Contact the Council’s Welfare Team on 04 801 3683.

Building Safety

Building owners are primarily responsible for ensuring buildings are safe and arranging engineering assessments. If your building is found to be unsuitable for occupancy, inform your tenants and the Council immediately. If your building is found to be safe, email recovery@wcc.govt.nz so the Council can update their records.

Insurance

If your property or contents were damaged in the earthquake and you have insurance, make sure you document the damage with photos. If you have continuity insurance, it may be able to help you cover wages and other costs during recovery. EQC can provide advice on filing a claim. The deadline for claims from the 14 November 2016 earthquake is 14 February 2017.

If you don’t currently have continuity insurance, now is a good time to consider a policy or beginning to make a continuity plan for your business. WREMO is running free workshops to help you with continuity planning - you can register online at http://www.getprepared.org.nz/BCP_workshops.

Recovery

Communicate regularly with your stakeholders, employees, and customers so they know if you have moved or reopened. When you reopen contact local media who are often looking for human interest stories. If you do not have a business continuity plan or insurance, now is a good time to start planning – agency staff at ERIC can help you look at your options.

Your staff are also able to seek advice and support at ERIC if they have been impacted by the earthquake. If you are not eligible for the earthquake support subsidy, you can refer your staff to Work and Income to see if they qualify for other support.

A range of government and community agencies are available at ERIC to provide advice and support for individuals, including housing and tenancy advice, health and welfare.

Further information and support

Earthquake Recovery and Information Centre (ERIC)
wcc.govt.nz/eric
Cnr Lambton Quay and Stout Street