New Zealand temp staff unable to access wage subsidy scheme

The issue of recruitment agencies not being able to access governmental wage subsidies is being examined and discussed.
By: | September 7, 2021

NZ Council of Trade Unions (CTU) president Richard Wagstaff said he will be meeting Workplace Relations Minister Michael Wood to seek clarity on the issue. 

Wagstaff said, “We are concerned people have to rely on their employer to access the wage subsidy, especially for those in casual, temporary or subcontract roles. These jobs are often not well paid and workers may be vulnerable.” 

The issue is made more complex due to the nature of casual work. “It would very much depend on the employment contract. Some casual work contracts define the relationship as only existing during the time they’re actually working, and may not be considered employees at all if there is no work available or the business closes for lockdown,” said Dundas St Law senior associate Chloe Luscombe.  

In addition, recruitment agencies which place staff in essential businesses may not be eligible for the wage subsidy as the former may not have experienced a 30% drop in revenue, according to Stuff. 

READ: New Zealand considers additional COVID-19 support for firms

Recruitment, Consulting and Staffing Association Australia & New Zealand (RCSA) spokesperson Brooke Lord said, “The whole structure of an on-hire relationship is … between the worker and their staffing employer. They perform duties for the client, but are actually employed by the staffing agency.”