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COVID-19 (Corona Virus): Ensuring the needs of working Kiwis are met

The Council of Trade Unions is monitoring the emerging situation with COVID-19 and the impact on working people. “We are working closely with working people, their unions, the Government, Ministry officials and business groups to try and ensure that the COVID-19 virus is contained and that people are supported appropriately,” CTU Policy Director and Economist Andrea Black said.

“We are pleased that the Government is has removed the ‘stand-down’ period for people needing financial assistance through welfare payments. It’s also good that the Government is working with banks to ensure they can help support customers.”

“We are welcoming the Governments wage subsidies to keep people connected with their workplaces, training for affected working people, support for employers.”

“The CTU is pleased to see the Government preparing for future eventualities, engaging with unions and business and being prepared to take decisive action.

At a minimum, we see that the following things are necessary –

Practical support for people displaced from their jobs including supporting unions to work with members if there are workplace and industry closures.

Increased statutory sick leave. Income support for all working people who are casual or contractors who can’t work or are self-isolating.

Support from welfare system to be on an individual basis – as many low and medium income households require two incomes to avoid hardship.

Working for Families payments to continue for people who lose their jobs. Increased benefit levels and action Welfare Expert Advisory Group recommendations that are relevant to the threat of the virus.” Black said.