Otago Daily Times

Scheme pays out $130m


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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