Law firms re­pay mil­lions of dol­lars in un­needed wage sub­si­dies

Fiji Sun - - INTERNATIO­NAL BUSINESS - Feed­back: maraia.vula@fi­jisun.com.fj

New Ze­land’s largest law firms have paid back the mil­lions of dol­lars they claimed in Gov­ern­ment wage sub­si­dies.

About NZ$10.5 bil­lion (FJ$14.2 b) has been paid to more than 420,000 em­ploy­ers through the scheme, which is be­ing au­dited by the Min­istry for So­cial Devel­op­ment.

Pay­ment

Simp­son Gri­er­son has re­turned its NZ$2.3 mil­lion (FJ$3.11m) pay­out, which it ap­plied for based on a fore­cast drop in rev­enue.

It said it is now fore­cast­ing a smaller im­pact and had re­paid the sub­sidy. MiniterEl­lisonRud­dWatts said it is also per­form­ing bet­ter than fore­casted and re­paid its NZ$2m (FJ$2.7m) pay­out.

Bell Gully said it will also give back its NZ$1.8m (FJ$2.43m) pay­ment, fol­low­ing a de­ci­sion by its board.

The Min­istry for So­cial Devel­op­ment does not have up­dated fig­ures on au­dits of the scheme, but said in a state­ment that in many cases where en­ti­tle­ments had been wrongly claimed, it was due to un­cer­tainty about el­i­gi­bil­ity cri­te­ria, rather than de­lib­er­ate at­tempts at de­cep­tion.

The Min­istry said ap­pli­ca­tions for the sub­sidy are slow­ing, with the 12-week pe­riod it cov­ers due to run out on June 9.

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