47% of jobs protected by 2021 Wage Subsidies

New report reveals how subsidies were distributed

47% of jobs protected by 2021 Wage Subsidies

The government's wage subsidies back in 2021 have protected 47% of jobs in New Zealand, according to Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni.

In a new report from the Ministry of Social Development, 54% of employed men and 41% of employed women had their jobs protected thanks to the wage subsidy schemes implemented last year.

In addition, 45% of all unique jobs held by Maori were supported by at least one of the 2021 wage subsidies, read the report.

"Our government has worked hard to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and people's jobs and livelihoods. This new report shows that the wage subsidies served to protect jobs and support businesses that might otherwise have been lost," said Sepuloni in a statement.

"While we have seen the number of people receiving a Main Benefit rise due to COVID-19, interventions like the wage subsidies and Government investment have meant the numbers are well below what was forecast."

According to the minister, the patterns of 2021 wage subsidy distribution were similar to those in 2020, where some jobs needed more than others. These include sectors of accommodation and food, and arts and recreation industries.

"That's why Government continued to respond as demand arose, for example, with additional support for the arts and culture sector, large-scale events and a reactivation package for Auckland. These also sat in conjunction with other support available such as the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment, Leave Support Scheme, Short-term Absence Payment, and the extensions to the Wage Subsidy," said Sepuloni.

"We know that businesses right across the motu are what makes Aotearoa New Zealand tick. The wage subsidies have been an important tool in our toolbox in supporting them, and protecting people in nearly half of our jobs," she added.

Read more: This is NZ's first fully living wage accredited industry

The report shows how the COVID-19 wage subsidies were distributed in 2021, while also comparing the figures to the distribution the year before that.

According to the report, the number of employees protected by the wage subsidy in 2021 were slightly lower than the year before, which protected 69% of men and 54% of women.

In 2021, the government opened its COVID-19 Wage Subsidy March 2021 for applications from March 4 to 21.

It was followed by the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 #1, which remained open for applications until September.

Following the scheme was a series of fortnightly wage subsidies starting with COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 #2 to #8, which closed in December 9.

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