Employers call for extended wage subsidy

Virginia Nichols. Photo: supplied
Virginia Nichols. Photo: Supplied
As some businesses are now discussing restructuring and redundancies with staff in the South, the Otago Southland Employers Association is calling on the Government to extend the wage subsidy scheme.

Skyline Enterprises has announced it will cut more than half of its 1200 staff, about a third of them operating at the company’s Queenstown gondola and luge.

Food distributors Kaan’s is also considering cutting its workforce by about half, which could mean 80 jobs gone.

Otago Southland Employers Association chief executive Virginia Nicholls said with the wage subsidy coming to an end for many business, they had to start thinking of life without it and often that meant cutting jobs.

‘‘It is incredibly tough out there at the moment for businesses.

‘‘We are aware that a number of businesses are discussing restructure and redundancy with their employees.’’

Others had closed outright, she said, and while the wage subsidy had helped, it needed to continue.

‘‘We are concerned that when the wage subsidy finishes there will be more businesses who will be seriously looking at how their business can continue in this environment.

‘‘We would like to see the wage subsidy scheme continued, which will give businesses an opportunity to evaluate the opportunities going ahead.

‘‘In some cases this will give the businesses the confidence to carry on.’’

She also touted the idea of moving to Alert Level 2 and allowing domestic travel by the end of the week to give businesses an opportunity to open to customers, potentially saving some jobs.

‘‘We would also like to see the Government urgently focusing on producing a reliable digital contact tracing process so businesses can fully reopen safely as soon as possible.’’

Rent relief was still needed by many businesses, she said.

jacob.mcsweeny @odt.co.nz


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