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Canterbury Earthquake Small Business Support

(PR.co.nz) The Government has announced a wage subsidy to support employees of small businesses seriously disrupted by the Canterbury earthquake.

Prime Minister John Key and Social Development Minister Paula Bennett announced the support package in Christchurch today.

“This is about keeping people in jobs and supporting small businesses which are unable to operate or pay staff right now,” says Ms Bennett.

“This is a deliberately fast response because small businesses are particularly vulnerable at this time,” says Ms Bennett.

The support subsidy will be paid to businesses with fewer than 20 employees where earthquake damage means they cannot operate and they cannot pay staff wages.

The subsidy will be paid for up to four weeks initially and businesses can re-apply after four weeks if they are still unable to operate.

Earthquake Support Subsidy:

$350 per week gross wage subsidy
Advance lump sum paid to employer
Employer can ‘top up’ subsidy
Backdated to date of earthquake
Firms holding insurance cover for loss of earnings will be expected to use this before accessing the wage subsidy.

“We don’t yet know how many businesses and employees will need to take this up, but we’ve set aside $15 million at this stage,” says Ms Bennett.

“We’re very aware small businesses have been hit hard by this crisis and we are determined to help them get through the worst of it,” says Ms Bennett.

Businesses can apply from this Thursday and will be paid within 24 hours.

Employers should call the Government earthquake helpline 0800 779997.

Media Release 7 September 2010 from Paula Bennett, Minister of Social Development and Employment.

 



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