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PM Releases Initial Earthquake Assistance Package

PM Releases Initial Earthquake Assistance Package

Prime Minister John Key today announced an initial support package for Christchurch businesses and workers affected by last week’s major earthquake.

The six week package is made up of two parts:

• An Earthquake Support Subsidy to help employers keep paying wages

• Earthquake Job Loss Cover to support employees whose employer believes their business is no longer viable.

“This package is a first step to help the people of Christchurch rebuild their lives and livelihoods. It is designed to get people through the next six weeks, as the Government considers what measures will be needed in the medium-term,” Mr Key says.

“We have made the support package as simple and pragmatic as possible, so that it can be delivered quickly and reach the people who urgently need it.”

The Earthquake Support Subsidy will give Christchurch-based employers a contribution to help them keep paying wages while they consider the future of their business.

Eligible employers will receive a payment of $500 gross per week for each full-time employee, which will be paid to the affected worker. For part-time workers the payment will be $300 gross per week.

“This subsidy is designed to keep businesses connected with their staff during the first few weeks after the earthquake,” Mr Key says.

“This is about keeping people in jobs and supporting businesses through the next six weeks.”

Earthquake Job Loss Cover is a new programme to provide support to workers whose employer believes their business is no longer viable. It will also be available to employees who are unable to contact their employer.

Full-time workers in this situation will receive $400 net per week, to help them transition to either finding another job or seeking other welfare assistance. Part-time workers will receive $240 net per week.

Both types of payments will be back-dated to the date of the earthquake and Work and Income will begin taking applications today.

“Today’s announcements are the beginning of what will be a long process to get Christchurch back on its feet,” Mr Key says.

“More will need to be done, and the Government will do everything we can to support the recovery and rebuilding of the city.

“There are some workplaces now operating in Christchurch, and I’d like to encourage people where possible to go back to work if they can. Where their workplace is safe and their family is safe, the biggest contribution people can make to their city’s recovery is by going back to work.”


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