COVID-19: time’s up for employers who misapply wage subsidy | Employment Law Update

Employment New Zealand has provided (6 April 2020) guidance for employees who suspect their employer is receiving the wage subsidy but is not meeting the conditions required of it.

Employers are required at the least to pass on the total amount of the subsidy for each named employee (unless a person’s income is normally less than the subsidy, in which case they can be paid their normal income). They must also undertake not to unlawfully require an employee to use their annual, sick or other leave entitlements or to change the terms of any employment agreement without the employee’s written agreement. Employers can apply for the subsidy for some or all of their employees.

Anyone who wishes to check on whether a business is receiving wage subsidy payments can now check on the Ministry of Social Development website.

Employment New Zealand advises any employee who believes their employer is not complying with the conditions attached to the subsidy to first talk to the employer and then, if the problem is not resolved, make a complaint to Employment New Zealand.

In a press release issued7 April 2020, the Ministers of Finance and Social Development noted that the Wage Subsidy Scheme had now assisted over a million New Zealanders — over 900,000 employees and nearly 160,000 sole traders — with $6.6 billion paid to date. This represents 41% of the New Zealand workforce. Treasury predicts the 12-week scheme will pay out between $8 billion and $12 billion.

Information reproduced with permission of Wolters Kluwer

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