Changes in 2021 – How your policies and procedures can help.

We’re going to see some big changes in 2021. Get your policies and procedures ready to help you manage.

Here’s three areas of change, which are likely to affect social, childcare and health services. Other changes are also coming. We’ll keep you advised so sign up for the Policy Place panui.

Pandemic/health and safety

We know that at least for the next year, we are going to need to live and work with the pandemic. We’ve learned from what’s been and can apply the lessons in processes we use to deal with COVID 19 and beyond (ie other infectious illnesses).

Key issues to cover off in your policies and procedures include:

  • requirements for staff and clients to prevent spread (eg vaccines; leave; health and hygiene)
  • responding to notified risk (closures; rules about distancing; isolation; contact tracing etc)
  • business continuity to respond to changing alert levels (access to records; privacy; re-location)
  • support for remote and flexible work/services
  • paid/unpaid leave (eg access to extended sick leave)

Pay equity

The Equal Pay Amendment Act came into effect in Aotearoa last year.  It requires that an employer ensure there is no sex-based difference:

  • between rates of pay offered to employees engaged in similar work and
  • given to staff for work that is exclusively or predominantly performed by female employees

The focus of the Act is on employers, unions and employees resolving pay equity claims. Legal action is the last resort. HR policies and procedures will help organisations raise and resolve claims.

Health and Disability Services Standards Review

The Health and Disability Services Standards are being reviewed and updated.

These Standards apply to health and disability services in Aotearoa. There are strongly similarities with the Social Sector Accreditation Standards.

Public consultation on the draft revision of the Standards finished last week.

When the updated set of  Standards commence, policies and procedures will need updating.  Key changes are likely to concern:

  • respect and support for people’s rights (rights recognised in international law and domestically) with more focus on “lived experience” and whānau-centred approaches
  • equality for Māori (staffing; focus on achieving equitable outcomes etc)
  • cultural safety and competence
  • informed choices and consent
  • client/whānau centred services.

Help with the changes

These are just 3  changes we’re likely to see in 2021. There’s likely to be a lot more.

If you don’t want the worry or stress of trying to keep up with your policies and procedures, contact us. We can set you up with online policies and procedures to help you manage change and meet your compliance needs as agencies working in the social, health and childcare sectors.

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