NZ’s largest employer of cleaners promises zero redundancies thanks to Govt subsidy
OCS New Zealand has committed to zero redundancies for 12 weeks and has many of its cleaning staff (including all essential workers) on full pay in a move made possible by the Government wage subsidy.
Ian West, OCS General Manager (Northern Region) says workers within the cleaning and facilities management industry deliver a broad range of services many of which are classified as essential services during the lockdown.
“Just under half of our people – 1600 – are classified as essential workers, so they’re continuing to work in police stations, medical centres and other essential service providers facilities that remain open. The work they’re doing keeps our essential spaces clean and hygienic is helping to flatten the curve by preventing community spread of Covid-19.
“However, many of our team normally work in sectors that aren’t operating during the Level 4 lockdown so, like the majority of New Zealanders, they’re doing their bit by staying at home.”
Mr West says the company’s biggest focus during the crisis is to provide certainty to its 4,000 staff across New Zealand.
“The best way to do that is by committing to zero job losses for the next three months – even though our revenue is significantly down. Our industry runs on slim margins, and with the significant increase in our cost of sales and reduced revenue, we couldn’t have done it without the support of the Government.”
Ian West says OCS is using the government subsidy to ensure every worker has at least 80% of their normal pay – even if they’re unable to go to work right now.
“Every frontline OCS team member still working is getting 100% of their normal pay. That’s everyone cleaning hospitals, rest homes, airports and other essential services.
“For those whose normal work doesn’t exist during the lockdown, we have decided to support our lowest-paid workers the most. If their normal pay is under the $350 (under 20 hours) or $585 (20 hours or more) government subsidy (many cleaners work part-time), we’re paying them their normal wage.
“If their normal pay is above $580, we are using a sliding scale with the highest-paid people getting paid 80% and lower paid people getting closer to 100%.”
“We’re sharing the government wage subsidy across all our people to help as many lower-wage workers as possible.”
Ian West says workers whose jobs are classed as ‘essential’ but who can’t work for health or other issues will continue to be paid 100% of their wages.
“Our frontline team members are now more important than ever before. At OCS, we often describe cleaners as the unsung heroes for the work they do in hygiene and minimizing cross contamination and we think it’s crucial to give them some certainty at this difficult time.”