Wednesday, 03 June 2020 10:55

SFF comfortable with wage subsidy stance

Written by  David Anderson
SFF spokesman Justin Courtney. SFF spokesman Justin Courtney.

Silver Fern Farms (SFF) says it applied for the wage subsidy to ensure it could retain workers when production levels decreased by up to 50% at some of its processing sites. 

“This led to projected revenues being over 30% lower during April than the previous year, which met the criteria for being eligible for the wage subsidy,” SFF spokesman Justin Courtney told Rural News.

He says SFF also implemented significant new controls with physical distancing, hygiene practices and PPE in its plants to protect staff.  

“This slowed our production levels by up to 50% at some of our sites – though we ramped up efficiency levels across all species. Through all of this we were able to retain and pay our staff.”

Courtney says SFF worked with the support of the union through this period. 

“We committed to those employees that were still working during the Alert Level 4 and 3 periods that their pay will not be less than 95% of a normal pre-COVID-19 production day, despite lower throughputs and we also implemented a bonus for production staff.  

“For any staff that could not work at all due to COVID-19 restrictions they continued to be paid at a weekly rate higher than the wage subsidy.”  

Courtney says this covered those who were solo-carers, employees aged over 70 years and those who meet the Ministry of Health guidelines to self-isolate.

“[The wage subsidy] was applied for during considerable uncertainty for our company – both domestically around our ability to operate under Level 4 restrictions,” he added. “There was significant global market disruption for our products, with containers held-up in China, airfreights to Europe cancelled, disruptions in the Middle East and delays in containers returning to New Zealand for future shipments.”

Courtney says SFF is still monitoring its operating conditions, honouring commitments to staff and will pay any unneeded funds back. 

“We are engaging with government in order to keep them updated on our progress given the situation has been so fluid through this period.”

More like this

Featured

 

Limited feed puts ewes at risk

Severe feed shortages in parts of the country mean many ewes are on a nutritional knife-edge heading into lambing and could be at risk of developing metabolic disorders.

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped him getting out and about in difficult environments.

National

A ticking time bomb

Our dairy industry risks being exposed to a ‘ticking time bomb’ of unethical players unlawfully passing off New Zealand-made and…

Nervous wait for winter

The unknown of what winter will bring is very much on the mind of the Hawkes Bay Rural Support Trust…

Be careful, Potatoes NZ!

Moves by the NZ potato industry to have anti-dumping tariffs imposed on European imports could play into the hands of…

China keeps dairy prices high

Whole milk powder (WMP) prices are now sitting above pre-Covid-19 levels and New Zealand farmers can thank a resurging Chinese…

Machinery & Products

Hydrogen excavator a first

While most motive industries are focused on hybrid or EV power plants, JCB has developed the construction industry’s first hydrogen-powered…

Jack’s unique solution

Jason Jack was left with severe spinal injuries after a wakeboarding accident when he was 29, but that hasn’t stopped…

HP and digital tech combo

The latest New Holland T8 GENESIS is said to capitalise on the productive combinations of Stage V horsepower and digital…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Spell check

Your old mutt was not surprised to see the NZ Dairy Industry Awards hastily remove the title of this year’s…

About time!

Your canine crusader has been a long-time critic of NZ governments – of all stripes – who, for the past…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter