Supporting the Drupal Community through uncertain times
As we head into uncertain times, DrupalSouth is committed to assisting Drupal focused businesses and end users who rely on Drupal in their organisations. We would like to share some initiatives with you that may help your own companies as the effects of Coronavirus start flowing through the broader economy.
A range of initiatives have been announced by the Australian federal and state governments. This includes deferring BAS & PAYG payments and waiving payroll tax along with an increase to $150K for immediate write off of business assets.
If you require assistance from the Australian Taxation Office in regards to their initiatives, please visit https://www.ato.gov.au/General/New-legislation/The-Australian-Government-s-Economic-Response-to-Coronavirus/ or contact 1800 806 218.
The New Zealand government has outlined similar measures at https://www.ird.govt.nz/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/tax-relief/tax-relief-for-businesses
We would also strongly advise all organisations to enforce working from home policies and minimising in-person contact with clients if they haven’t done so already. This provides the best chance of maintaining a healthy workforce and minimising the spread of Coronavirus within the community.
While it hasn’t been announced officially, the government and banks are likely to initiate very low interest small business loans to enable companies to continue to fund payroll expenses in coming months.
We’re also aware that some companies are formulating their own policies around extending personal leave credits to staff who are directly affected by Coronavirus if they exhaust accrued leave entitlements. The goal is to provide employees with certainty around their personal finances and roles as they experience unforeseen circumstances beyond their control. Leave credits would then be re-accrued once they return to work, with policies around this determined by the company themselves.
Excess Team Capacity
The overwhelming indications are that the economy will move into recession in coming weeks, affecting many companies’ projects which may lead to excess capacity. Rather than immediately resorting to redundancies to counter this, we feel the Drupal community is well placed to facilitate resource sharing amongst organisations. This may take many forms, such as seconding staff onto other organisations’ teams for defined periods, subcontracting larger teams onto entire projects, or transitioning team members to new roles in other organisations without the stress of going through a typical redundancy process where the onus is on the individual to find new employment.
We cannot dictate any terms for this type of engagement, but do see huge benefit in organisations being able to maintain continuity of their teams through a downturn in demand, making it easier to return to normal if things pick up in coming months. This will need obviously need to be managed on a case by case basis on terms that suit both the organisation and individual team members involved.
We can, however, provide communication mechanisms for organisations to post their needs in terms of sharing team member availability via:
- Anonymised communications that are facilitated by official DrupalSouth channels. E.g. Posting on DrupalSouth’s Twitter account that “A team of three Drupal developers has become available for the next 2 months to subcontract on projects with other organisations. Please contact DrupalSouth directly for more details". We would then make confidential introductions between interested parties on a case by case basis. Please email email@example.com if you need to use this service.
- A private Slack channel under the DrupalSouth account for business leaders to communicate with each other under Chatham House Rules. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to this.
- Public postings in the Drupal Slack channel. Join at http://drupalslack.herokuapp.com and then add yourself to the "Australia-NZ" channel.
- Public postings on https://groups.drupal.org/australia or https://groups.drupal.org/new-zealand
If you have teams that do have excess capacity but don’t want to second them to other organisations, we would encourage you to direct a portion of their available time to Drupal code and other contributions such as documentation or UX. This provides team members with an ongoing focus on Drupal, improving their skills and facilitating interaction and mentoring with a wide range of international Drupal community members.
If you need assistance in formulating an open source contribution policy for your organisation, please email email@example.com to arrange a discussion.
Drupal Association Support
The Drupal Association is the organisation responsible for maintaining Drupal.org - the project's essential infrastructure and driving global community initiatives and conferences. The continuity of their operations is critical at a time like this, and you can support them financially in the following ways:
- Facilitate your team to join as individual members: https://www.drupal.org/association/individual-membership
- Join as an organisation member: https://www.drupal.org/association/organization-membership
- Become a Supporting Partner to receive the highest level of recognition: https://www.drupal.org/association/supporters/partners
Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you have other ideas around how we can facilitate more initiatives in these difficult times.
The DrupalSouth Steering Committee