PMA leading the way forward with new staff support policies in Covid 19 new norm

Pasifika Medical Association (PMA) have taken positive learnings from working under Covid-19 conditions and have implemented them in a new staff support package which is already being practiced and embraced within the organisation. The support package give staff increased health and financial benefits and options for a flexible working week.

PMA CEO, Debbie Sorensen says during lockdown staff under Pasifika Medical Association Groups were working up to 16-hour days to ensure financial and health support were delivered to Pacific communities across New Zealand. At the same time staff were also caring for their own families who were dealing with the impacts of Covid-19.

“As an organisation who pride ourselves on being leaders for our community, it’s important for us to reciprocate our staff efforts and most importantly strengthen our own staff and their health and wellbeing. Our priority is that we look after our staff, and we care about them in the same way we care about our families,” Sorensen says.

The new staff support package includes:

  • Unlimited sick leave.
  • 5 weeks Minimum annual leave.
  • Corporate vaccinations which require staff to be vaccinated at PMA cost. Staff will also be provided with a Fitbit and will receive incentives to encourage a healthy lifestyle.
  • Flexible working hours.
  • A working from home allowance which will give staff a payment of $1040.00 per annum to go towards increased costs in utility bills as a result of working from home.
  • Increased Kiwi Saver company contribution from three percent to five percent.

“As an organisation it would be a shame to go through Covid-19 and not learn anything from it,” Sorensen says. “It has also made us think of the future workplace, so in the case of another crises it means our team will be well-equipped and resilient to work through it and the transition to work from home will already be a part our everyday workflow practice”.

“The truth is much of our work can be done from home. We work in teams, so each team will have to communicate to their director what the focus of the work is that week and how they will prioritise it. A four-day week is an option for staff, but it doesn’t mean everyone takes a Friday off. When I say ‘off’ it means people are at home, but they are still available if there is urgent work that is required but they will be free to have more of a break. Some staff have said they would rather have shorter days so they can drop their kids off at school and pick them up.”

Sorensen adds unlimited sick leave has been an important priority for the organisation knowing many of their staff are caring for or have taken in more family members in their household due to the impacts of Covid-19.

“We understand that Pacific parents are often under many burdens. We are carers for our children and extended family like grandparents. So, it’s really important they can do that without having to compromise their own wellness and not be penalised for being sick and unable to come to work.

“I hope other Pacific organisations begin to adopt similar support packages for their staff and embrace a new way of working. Our people pride ourselves on working collaboratively to ensure our community is strengthened and supported. It’s important to remember our staff are a part of the community they serve so looking after them and providing flexibility in the workplace is how we can collectively flourish and move forward together.”

#pmafamily Date: Tuesday 11 August 2020