Archive for the ‘Compliance Costs’ Category

Since when are we fines collectors

August 31, 2010

I have just done a 12 hour day…it’s not the first this week and it’s only Tuesday (I think :-))

I run a micro-business (less than 5 employees; in fact there’s just me)

My husband runs a micro-business, yep it’s just him too, except for when he hires seasonal staff. So you can imagine our pleasure when we continually get letters from the Ministry of Justice addressed to “The Payroll Manager” to collect their fines for them off our ex-employees.

Yes, even if they have worked three short days and never turned up again (a common theme but that’s another story) we get the letters and we have to find time out of our day to ring and let them know.

We are not debt collectors and are getting very sick of being lumbered with any form of tax collection be it Kiwisaver, student load, fines WHATEVER. There just seems to be an open slather on employers to do the job.  WE ARE SICK OF IT.

Here are some statistics. There are 327,836 businesses with zero employees…yep one man bands like us who don’t have “payroll managers”

There are a further 100,000 businesses with less that 5 employees. I can assure you these guys will be struggling to hold it together in the compliance department too.

So come on, give us a break.  We didn’t incur the fine, loan, or savings plan. It’s not our liability yet we are made to do the paperwork for it.  It takes up our valuable time, decreases our productivity and interferes with what little time we have to relax with our family.

Here endth the rant.

Is the IRD feeling unloved?

December 8, 2009

I received this in the post the other day and it lay on the table gathering dust but then over a couple of glasses of wine last night we had a really good laugh about it with friends. Many questions arose, does the IRD need a friend? Do they think we need more friends? What is a Community Relationships Advisor? Why do they call us ‘the customer’? (the ‘.govt.nz’ at the end of the email address tells us the IRD works for us.) Do they really think that people will dob in their colleagues? and last but not least we answered the questions that were bugging the IRD. There were many, many answers (some unprintable)  but it was unanimously decided that the answer to all the questions was… “The IRD'”.

The could take some sage advice from the late Michael Jackson “I’m looking at the man in the mirror.”

Catching Up

January 22, 2008

Boy a lot happens when you take break from the world.

I could write many different posts but the download speeds round here……

Post Number One: THE HEAT!!!

It was so hot here the other day we had trucks sinking into the tarmac and getting stuck, I kid you not.  It was 33 degrees at 6pm yesterday, once again, I kid you not.  On top of that we had gale force winds which allowed all Hawke’s Bayites (?ians) to understand what it must be like in a fan force oven.

It’s currently 30 degrees in my office an it’s not even lunch time

Post Number Two: Apples to Australia.

We are still stuck in process, but at least its the WTO process and not Australian process (which they have a tendancy to make up as they go along)

Apple growers around New Zealand can be very proud that their actions have taken this long standing dispute further than it has ever got before.  We should have resolution by the end of 2009 🙂

Post Three: Compliance Costs

Farmers are getting that ‘we’re surrounded by wolves’ feeling.  Whereever we look someone is trying to make us tick more boxes (at considerable cost of course).

E.g 1.  Last year a pest was found in apples going to Taiwan. One caterpillar in many, many years of trade. As a result the monitoring and auditing schedules were reviewed (and so they should be) however the result is a complete over-reaction. Remember, international trade is based on a low risk, not no risk.  So now we have three random audits (for just this one pest, and only for apples going to Taiwan) which cost around $600 ea.  We have to keep the evidence that we have bought the proper equipment (receipts and the equipment).

E.g. 2. We are currently going through our GlobalGAP audit ($1100 please).  When we first started many years ago there was one folders worth of documentation; now there are three. We employ seasonal labour and many of them are backpackers. We have to provide everyone with a room to eat their lunch, what happened to sitting under the apple trees.  It’s got so silly at a local level that our neighbours are having to put in wheelchair access to their lunchroom; I’m sorry but people in wheelchairs can’t pick apples; can we have some common sense please.

E.g 3.  New Seasonal Labour Laws; where the hell do I start.  OK, as an employer…

  1. is your global workforce limited by legislation? Ours is, we are only allowed to get labour ( the RSE (Recognised Seasonal Employer scheme) or ARSE as growers call it) from 5 pacific islands.  A whole new bureaucracy has been created to get growers RSE’d. 
  2. Do you have to pay for their airfares to get here
  3. If they go missing do you get lumped with a $3000 fine per person MIA
  4. Do you have to provide pastoral care (health, religious requirements, housing…)

In reality it is working well for large corporate growers but for the little guy the cost is prohibitive. $1400 just to go through the registration process.  Us little guys just do not have the work for an RSE employee because…

  1. We only have approximately 4-6 weeks work available in Nov/Dec and another 8-12 weeks work from Feb onwards.
  2. Under RSE we have to guarantee a minimum of 30 hours per week for the entire time they are over here
  3. We are not allowed to share RSE workers between growers; an RSE worker is only allowed to work for his/her grower.  I don’t know how many times in the past that we have shared workers, and the workers like it. They get more work.  The industry spent years promoting a harvest trail…

The RSE a complicated expensive programme that singles out the horticultural industry as social providers for the Islands. (The scheme was designed to help the participating Islands on a social and economic level by training the residents and providing a source of income)

No other industry has to stick up with the rules.

Here’s how it used to work.  Backpackers  came into the country on a visitors permit.  Growers helped them get temporary work permits.  In November the Backpackers worked and paid taxes. Over the summer holidays the Backpackers went up north, saw the Pohutukawa trees and spent their money. In Feb March the Backpackers picked fruit and paid taxes, and in winter they went down south and saw snow and spent their money.  So simple they only issue being that to get temporary work permits a seasonal labour shortage needed to be declared; all they had to do was to declare this SLS in a more timely manner.

While the wolves are circling, all we seem to be doing is defending, we want to produce.

Working for the Gummint

October 12, 2007

Business NZ -KPMG released their annual compliance cost survey earlier this month http://www.businessnz.org.nz/surveys/504 .  For the micro business i.e. 0-5 full-time equivalents, compliance cost total $2400-$3600 per FTE!!!

I am going to keep a record of time, $$$ and frustration spent on compliance/box ticking and keep you updated but let me give you an idea of todays effort.

We run a small agricultural business & a small media/writing/event management business. 

For the Ag business we have to comply with something called GlobalGap (Global Good Agricultural Practice) Today I had to print out a 67 page document that highlighted the difference between last years rules and this years.  I haven’t even started compliling the two folders full of protocols, policy statements and palaver that are required to pass this audit.

Don’t get me wrong I am all for Good Agricultural Practice – first to put my hand up when things come along but it is starting to get out of hand.