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Support Needed For Small Businesses

New Conservative is concerned at our government’s continuing lack of support for small businesses. Small businesses in New Zealand employ 650,000 people (at Feb 2019) and contribute about 25% of GDP.

At the start of Waitangi celebrations, another public holiday was announced celebrating Matariki. Although this sounds a great idea, it will add another financial burden on employers who are already struggling. Staff on four weeks leave currently get 36 days (including sick and public holidays) paid leave. Adding in the proposed Matariki day and the planned five days additional sick leave means the number of days an employer must be prepared to cover will increase to 42 ( two months real time), an increase of 16% in costs for employers.

For the Matariki holiday it would have been better to replace an existing public holiday like the day after New Year’s day or Labour Day. This would have achieved the recognition of Maori heritage without additional burden to employers.

The most recent announcement by Minister Sepuloni that employers will now be paid $350 for staff forced off work due to isolation requirements while waiting for test results, is a step in the right direction, but does not recognise the full costs to the employer. At the average wage rate of $26.50/hour this equates to 13 hours or less than 2 days wages. Test results take about 3 days plus the time taken waiting for the actual test, means the employer will still have extra costs to meet.

Let us all remember that small businesses are the engine room of the economy. In these unusual times we should be encouraging and supporting employers, not increasing their costs. It is vital that all businesses can continue to grow and develop to continue to employ our people. New Conservative calls on the government to support small businesses by reducing costs, not adding to them.

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