PART THREE of our three part series

In this third and final post in our three part series on employment issues during the COVID 19 lockdown period, we once again revisit “John’s” situation and look at some of the employer obligations around the government wage subsidy.

In our previous scenario we met John, a food delivery truck driver working for a company based out of Wellington. The company has been deemed an essential service by the government.

John has asked his boss if the company had applied for the government subsidy. He is told by his boss that the company had left it too late to submit an application, so the short answer to John’s question was “no”. John later finds out that another employer has been told, “yes”, that a wage subsidy has been received by their employer for them.  John is unsure why his boss would have told him a different answer.

Government Wage subsidy

Where an employer has received a wage subsidy for an employee from the government:

  • There must be consultation between employer and employee at the time of making the application.
  • Employers can apply for the wage subsidy for some, but not necessarily, for all employees.
  • An employer cannot force an employee to take annual leave during the 12-week subsidy period if the employer is receiving the wage subsidy for that person.

John’s employer has advised him that no wage subsidy has been applied for from the government.  As this is inconsistent with what his fellow worker has told John then he can check on the website above to see if his employer has received any wage subsidy from the government. 

John needs to remember that just because another worker has received the wage subsidy that does not necessarily mean John’s employer has applied for and is receiving a government wage subsidy for John as well.  However, Johns employer must be honest with John about whether they have applied for the government wage subsidy or not.

More information about the government wage subsidy scheme can be found here: https://www.employment.govt.nz/leave-and-holidays/other-types-of-leave/coronavirus-workplace/wage-subsidy/

We hope this information is useful to you in these unprecedented times meanwhile – keep safe, keep strong and take care of yourselves and each other.

The information in this post is intended as a guide and not intended to be legal advice and is not intended to be specific legal advice to any specific individual.  If you need legal advice, please seek advice from a legal provider.