The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Government announces new nationwide wage subsidy to cover Alert Level 3

Workers whose jobs may be affected by the re-emergence of COVID-19 in Auckland will be supported by a new wage subsidy scheme, the Government announced this week.
In a press conference, Finance Minister Grant Robertson set out the criteria for the new nationwide wage subsidy, which will cover the period that Auckland is at COVID-19 Alert Level 3.

The subsidy is for two weeks of additional support at the same rate as the other wage subsidies, which paid out $585.80 for full-time workers and $350 for part-time workers. 

For this new scheme, the 40% revenue drop applies for any consecutive period of at least 14 days within 12 August and 14 September compared to 2019. 

Robertson said the Government expects the new wage subsidy to cover 470,000 jobs.

“The Government is again moving quickly to cushion the blow for businesses and workers,” he said.
“The new wage subsidy will help support cashflow and confidence. Along with the existing wage subsidy extension – which is open until 1 September for eligible businesses – the Treasury estimates that about 930,000 jobs will be covered by the two schemes.”
Robertson said making the scheme nationwide recognises the nature of the current outbreak and Auckland’s position in the New Zealand economy – the super-city representing 40 percent of the country’s GDP. 

Yesterday, Julie White, CEO of Hospitality New Zealand, said that an extension to the wage subsidy does not provide long-term security to business owners who have lost all their income, such as those in hospitality.

“They have fallen short, we will need [them] to step up and recognise the impact on the income to hospitality, so we’ll be touching base and asking them to re-look at a sector-specific package,” she told RNZ.

The Ministry of Social Development has advised the new wage subsidy scheme will be open for applications by the end of the week, Friday 21 August.

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