Big employers in New Zealand not applying for wage subsidy

Big businesses are conspicuously absent from applying for the latest wage subsidy scheme pushed out by the government.
By: | August 27, 2021

This was confirmed by finance minister Grant Robertson, who said there was only one application from a company employing more than 500 people so far. 

While about 128,000 applications for the wage subsidy have been made and almost NZ$500 million (US$347.7 million) paid out since the scheme was launched last Friday, big employers have not jumped on the bandwagon. 

“Some of these bigger companies have not liked the scrutiny on the massive profits that they made off the back of COVID,” said First Union’s Jared Abbott. 

Many of these companies have also been able to operate to some extent under the Level 4 lockdown this year versus last year when they could not. 

In addition, some employers did not want to apply for the wage subsidy and were instead telling staff they had to use their leave, including sick leave, or not get paid at all. “A lot of these companies use it as an opportunity to get down on the annual leave balances by forcing people to take annual leave or sick leave, now there’s increased sick leave provisions,” he said. 

READ: Over 47,000 businesses apply for wage subsidies in New Zealand

Meanwhile, Small Business Voice chief executive Max Whitehead said the application for the resurgence support should be made easier. “I’m hearing reports that just filling out the application is very difficult, so if a message could get to the beehive, it would be please make the administration process of this a lot easier for these guys,” he said.  

The resurgence support payment is for businesses that have a 30% drop in revenue and covers other business costs apart from wages, according to RNZ.