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EMA Applauds Extra Measures To Keep People In Work

The Employers and Manufacturers Association (EMA) says the extra measures to keep people in work will be a huge relief to businesses across New Zealand, and have saved jobs.

Chief Executive Brett O’Riley said the Government’s most recent announcement soften the impact of the lockdown on both businesses and their employees and will help see them through this difficult period and make sure they are in the best position possible once the recovery begins.

"It’s a more simple system that provides businesses with extra money so they can keep people employed even when they haven’t got revenue coming in," he says.

"Most importantly it means businesses can look after their people, keep valuable knowledge and experience in their business, and maintain an ongoing relationship with people they were potentially going to have to let go.

We have seen businesses reverse potential redundancy decisions today since the updated criteria was announced, that is a fantastic result and we commend the Government for responding quickly to the feedback we have been providing as part of the BusinessNZ network."

Key changes:

- Businesses accessing the scheme must still undertake their best endeavours to pay employees 80% of their pre-COVID income. Where that is not possible - in particular where a business has no activity whatsoever due to the shutdown and workers are not working any hours - they must pass on at least the whole value of the wage subsidy to each affected worker.

- Businesses must undertake to keep employees in employment for the period of the subsidy.

- Government are folding the previous sick leave scheme into this scheme to prevent double-dipping.

- The original sick leave scheme was designed when few people were in self-isolation, and it is no longer fit for purpose. We are working on arrangements for those in essential work who require sick leave due to COVID-19.

Mr O’Riley says what businesses need to do is fill in the forms on the Work and Income website as soon as they can - if they haven’t already - to ensure the get the subsidies and can pass them on quickly to their people.

"Although with demand it’s important to be patient, we are hearing from businesses that once they’ve got their forms in they are receiving payment very quickly, sometimes the next day," he says.

"We applaud the Government for the way they are adapting and changing their support based on feedback on how to support people best in these unprecedented times."

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