Otago Daily Times

Scheme pays out $130m

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WELLINGTON: The Govern­ment has paid out al­most $130 mil­lion to support busi­nesses to pay staff who have been told to self­iso­late and can­not work from home.

Since the Covid leave support scheme started in March, $129,448,173 has been spent.

Em­ploy­ers get $585.80 a week for full­time work­ers and $350 for part­timers for a fort­night.

The Min­istry of So­cial De­vel­op­ment said as of Novem­ber 6, 24,247 applicatio­ns had been ap­proved of which 4606 went to the self­em­ployed. About 90,000 em­ploy­ees have had wages cov­ered by the scheme.

Unions have been call­ing for more sick leave for work­ers.

Govern­ment doc­u­ments from Septem­ber and re­leased ear­lier this month show about $30 mil­lion set aside for the pro­gramme had not been spent.

It was pro­posed this sur­plus be used to partly fund an ex­pan­sion to the scheme an­nounced that month, along with an ad­di­tional $31 mil­lion of new money.

A spokesman for the Min­is­ter of Fi­nance said Govern­ment Covid pay­ments had come in un­der forecast be­cause the econ­omy had per­formed more strongly than ex­pected dur­ing the pan­demic. — RNZ

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