Goodwill key to wage subsidy schemes


karanina-2aEmployee advocate groups are urging employers to ensure they treat the Government’s COVID-19 pay subsidies in the spirit in which they have been provided.

“I’m encouraging business owners to talk openly with their staff before making decisions affecting their jobs,” Equal Employment Opportunities and Women’s Rights Commissioner, Saunoamaali’i Karanina Sumeo, says.

“I urge bosses to face up to the inevitable, emotional conversations, continue to exercise transparency and do the right thing. Get support from other business owners facing the same dilemmas. We are all in this together.”

Ms Sumeo adds that concerns have been raised by unions that some employers are not passing on the wage subsidy or compelling staff to use sick or annual leave as cover during the isolation period.

“I applaud the Government for listening to the voices of workers, unions, business owners and civil society as reflected in its swift policy responses. The time taken to understand and address particular vulnerabilities of different groups in our communities sends the message that ‘we see you and this is how you’ll be supported’,” she adds.

“It’s important that those with the least have what they need to get through, build resilience and exit this crisis intact and stronger. This is how we ensure our vulnerable aren’t further marginalised.”