More than 180,000 small businesses which put workplace safety plans in place are now able to ask for a 10% discount on their ACC levies. On April 1, 2006, the Government introduced an ACC levy discount programme specifically aimed at small business employers and the self-employed in the agriculture, forestry, construction, road freight transport, motor trades and in-shore fishing industry sectors.
“I’m delighted to offer government help to small businesses in these sectors which take workplace safety seriously,” ACC minister Ruth Dyson said. “A large proportion of small businesses and selfemployed people work in high risk industries and they are less able than a bigger business to cope with someone being away while they recover from an injury.
“These changes recognise that small business owners can take a few fairly simple steps to improve workplace safety — and there will be a financial incentive for doing so,” Ms Dyson said. Eligible small businesses may apply to join the programme and, if successful, will receive a 10% discount on their Employers’ Account levy and/or Self Employed Work Account.
ACC is working with industry associations and organisations to make workplace safety training available that is specifically tailored to suit small businesses in the relevant sectors. “If a small business can show that it has identified workplace hazards and thought about how to manage them, and has staff who are experienced in health and safety and in emergency procedures, then it is likely to be a far safer place to work.
“This will benefit the business by making it more productive and profitable. ACC also benefits in the long term from reduced worker injuries in small businesses, and will give the business a discount on ACC levies,” Ms Dyson said. Which small businesses are eligible?
To participate in the scheme, the business or self employed person must:
• have 10 or less full-time equivalent workers or liable earnings of no more than $380,000 a year,
• show they have relevant capability in hazard identification and management, injury and incident investigation, emergency readiness, and in training employees, and
• allow a possible site audit by ACC-approved auditors. Can a business do anything to ensure it doesn’t miss out simply because it isn’t eligible at the beginning?
The discount on ACC levies applies to the whole year’s levies regardless of when in the year a business starts participating in the scheme.
For example, a business that joins the scheme in December 2006 will have its ACC levy discount backdated to the beginning of April 2006.
For more information visit www.acc.co.nz.