Covid 19 Wage Subsidy update
We are certainly living through unprecedented times and having to feel our way through day by day. There is a huge amount of information available and in some cases this information is changing daily.
We are grateful to all the people who are providing essential health services and those unsung heroes in the supermarkets and other essential service providers.
The HealthyPractice team are working from their homes and are available during normal business hours by email on email@example.com or 0800 800 627.
Most of the enquiries we have been fielding are related to the ongoing employment of their staff and the options that are available. The information below may answer your questions but remember you can always contact us with your individual circumstances.
- You can access our previous HealthyPractice newsletter in the public area of the website at the link below. This provides guidelines for employers as well as relevant links and is updated on a regular basis. https://www.healthypractice.co.nz/news/covid-19-corona-virus-employer-obligations/
- The government expects that very few staff will be made redundant during the lockdown period and the 12-week wage subsidy is provided to maintain staff in their continuing employment - details are at: https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-support.html#null
- If you are entitled to the wage subsidy you are required to make your best endeavours to pay staff at an amount equal to at least 80% of their contracted wage, using the wage subsidy to support this, for the 12-week period. Whilst the wage subsidy scheme requires you to top up to 80% there is legal requirement to pay 100% of wages unless you reach agreement otherwise. Please note the following bullet points as part of the wage subsidy declaration at
- You acknowledge that the granting of your application and your receipt of the subsidy does not override your existing obligations under the Employment Relations Act 2000;
- You will not make any changes to your obligations under any employment agreement, including to rates of pay, hours of work and leave entitlement, without the written agreement of the relevant employee;
- You will retain the employees named in your application as your employees for the period you receive the subsidy in respect of those employees;
- You will not unlawfully compel or require any of the employees named in your application to use their leave entitlements for the period you receive the subsidy in respect of those employees;
- If staff are not needed during the lockdown period but you are likely to want to employ them again once they can return to the workplace then you should consult with them in good faith about that to explore the options – do they have leave they can take? Are they prepared to take unpaid leave? Or go on reduced pay if you can afford it? Can you apply for the workplace subsidy to ease any financial burden? Good faith obligations require you to talk to the employee concerned and canvass all possible options to ease the financial burden on them.
Unfortunately, like all insurers, there is no cover under your MAS Business Insurance policy for any interruption or interference in connection with any contagious or infectious disease. We have more information on this and the Covid-19 impact on other MAS insurance covers and investments at:
Best wishes to you all during this time.
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