Pebbles wants staff updated about employment status

Farmer Freddy


Pebbles was catching up on the rugby highlights from the weekend when her phone rings.  It’s Joe, Freddy’s next door neighbour. 

“Hi Joe, great game over the weekend,” said Pebbles, referring to the All Black’s semi-final win.  “Only one more win to go.”

“Yes, that’s right Pebbles,” said Joe.  “It’s a bit of a nervous wait until the weekend but I do have something else that is troubling me which is what I wanted to talk to you about.”

“What’s that Joe?  Has Freddy’s other neighbour’s lawyer finally got around to formalising his testamentary promises claim against Freddy’s estate?” asked Pebbles. 

“No, I haven’t heard anything as yet but I will let you know when I do.  In the meantime, the farm staff that Freddy employed on the farm are getting anxious.  Some, as we all are, are quite shocked about Freddy’s passing, and that has been affecting some of them.  Also, for others, there has been the added anxiety over the uncertainty of their employment on Freddy’s farm and who is going to be taking things over now that Freddy is no longer with us.  What can I tell them to reassure them about things?” asked Joe. 

Pebbles takes a moment to think about her response. 

 “That’s a good question,” said Pebbles.  “In fact, with everything going on, Freddy’s passing, the testamentary claims issue, and of course rugby, I haven’t given much thought to what will happen with Freddy’s farm staff. 

 “The reality here is that there is still a lot to work through and there haven’t been any decisions made about the long term future of Freddy’s farm and who will run it.  A lot of that will be determined by what’s in Freddy’s Will and the legacy plan that Freddy had in place. 

 “In the meantime, the important message to give Freddy’s staff is that of reassurance.  Reassure them that for now the farm is continuing to run under your management and that they will continue to be employed.  If there are to be any changes to the farm affecting Freddy’s farm staff, Freddy’s company that employs them has a good faith obligation to keep the staff informed of any changes that will affect them,” Pebbles explained. 

 “So what should I do to keep them updated?” asked Joe. 

 “It would be a good idea to invite Freddy’s staff to a meeting, perhaps over some tea and biscuits, and give them assurance that for now it will be business as usual but if anything changes affecting their employment they will be notified about that and given an opportunity to provide feedback,” said Pebbles. 

 “I know that for some staff who knew Freddy well they will be upset about Freddy’s death.  We can offer them assistance to help them get through that,” said Pebbles. 

 “But what will we be able to do?” asked Joe. 

 “One option that we can offer Freddy’s farm staff is counselling (also known as employee assistance).  You can prearrange a set amount of counselling sessions with a qualified employee assistance provider and offer these to Freddy’s farm staff at no cost.  Counselling can be provided on a confidential basis where Freddy’s staff will contact the counsellor directly without the need for you to be involved,” said Pebbles. 

 “Thanks Pebbles,” said Joe.  “Such good advice as per usual.  I can see why Freddy spoke so highly of you.  I will get onto engaging an employee assistance provider so that we can offer that to Freddy’s staff if they need it.  Hopefully the result of the rugby World Cup final this weekend won’t give us another reason for employee assistance counselling.”

The content of this document is necessarily general and readers should seek specific advice on particular matters and not rely solely on this document. 

If you would like more information on any of the topics in this document, please contact your usual Auld Brewer Mazengarb & McEwen adviser. 

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Philip McCarthy