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COVID-19: Unscrupulous Employers Exploiting The Crisis

The Council of Trade Unions is deeply concerned with reports of some employers behaving badly during the COVID-19 crisis.

"Working people expect to be treated fairly at all times and especially in times of crisis. Some employers are behaving badly, others are quite frankly behaving unlawfully, CTU President, Richard Wagstaff said.

"Affiliates are reporting a wide range of bad behaviour from some employers. Including employers compelling staff to use sick leave or annual leave to cover the level 4 isolation period. This not only breaches MBIE advice but is also in violation of the law, such decisions about annual leave need to be made in consultation. Sick leave must only be used when someone, or their dependant, is sick."

"We are hearing reports that some employers are not acting in good faith when accessing wage subsidies supplied by the government. When an employer does so they are expected to, with best endeavours pay 80% of that person’s salary/wages for 80% work. Employers who are taking tax payers money in a time of crisis have a moral obligation to not then use it to line their own pockets."

"Employers must focus on playing their part - they must demonstrate a greater level of compassion and they certainly must adhere to the law."

"It is also shocking that some employers are behaving opportunistically and self-proclaiming their business as an essential service. This type of behaviour makes a mockery of the serious situation we face."

"It is important to note that most employers are following the law - most employers are doing the right thing and listening to the clear guidance of the government, MBIE, and Business New Zealand group" Wagstaff said.

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