Two-week wage subsidy turnaround will cost jobs

Forcing struggling businesses to reapply for the Covid-19 wage subsidy every two weeks will lead to closures and employees losing their jobs, National’s spokesperson for Social Development and Employment Louise Upston says.

“It’s unreasonable that businesses have to reapply every two weeks for the wage subsidy. It adds yet another bureaucratic burden to businesses already under the pump as a result of the lockdown.

“If that wasn’t bad enough, applications for the first round of the subsidy end today, and National has heard from many businesses who are unaware of today’s cut-off date. The Government first mentioned it in its own press release yesterday and this important detail has only been available in recent days on the Ministry of Social Development’s website.   

“To expect businesspeople already under extreme pressure to go through a detailed process at such short notice is ridiculous.

“Without access to the subsidy in a fair and timely manner, the end result will be businesses closing and people out of work .

“It is a situation the Government should have managed far better.

“But, sadly, we are where we are. National wants to help inform as many as possible about today’s deadline and encourage others to share the information and help out their fellow business-owners in any way they can.

“We know the Ministry of Social Development is working as fast as it can to process applications and pay out the subsidy but it should never have been put in this predicament in the first place.

“The blame lies squarely with Government for imposing a two-week reapplication process and not communicating today’s deadline much earlier.”