There has been much talk over the last week, and much misinterpretation around the criteria relating to the government’s COVID-19 Wage Subsidy. It has felt very much like a moving beast, which still hasn’t come to rest!

 

You will have agreed to a declaration when you made your application and I want to draw your attention to the details of what you agreed to as I imagine a lot of applications were done in haste (with government encouragement). Government and IRD have made it clear that once the crisis is over, there will be a process to check that subsidies have been used lawfully and correctly with the best intentions.

Some of you would have applied for the subsidy before 4pm on 27th March. Here is that declaration

https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/online-services/covid-19/wage-subsidy-declaration.html

Others will have applied after 4pm on 27th March. Here is that declaration

https://workandincome.govt.nz/online-services/covid-19/declaration-wage-subsidy.html

If you now believe that you do not meet the criteria, you may need to pay back some/or all of the subsidy and you can find out how here

https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-support.html#null

It has also been made clear that the subsidies do not absolve anyone from their obligations as an employer so it is imperative that you treat your employees fairly and reasonably at this time, as you would normally. Most employers will of course want to do right by their employees and will act in good faith.  It is expected that anyone found to be taking advantage of the situation will be given no empathy from the Employment Relations Authority or the Labour Inspectorate down the line.  If you have any questions around this, please do let us know. We are not employment lawyers and may not know all the answers, but we can put you in touch with someone who can help.

https://www.employment.govt.nz/starting-employment/rights-and-responsibilities/employment-responsibilities/

Please also note that the minimum wage increases to $18.90 from today.