Government’s Wage Subsidies support people in nearly half of NZ jobs

The Government’s swift action to secure our economic recovery in the midst of a pandemic has seen 47 per cent of jobs in New Zealand protected by at least one of the 2021 wage subsidies, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni said.

The Ministry of Social Development’s new report on who received the Wage Subsidy last year shows that it was of critical importance in helping our economic recovery from COVID-19.

“Our Government has worked hard to cushion the impact of COVID-19 on businesses and people’s jobs and livelihoods. This new report shows that the wage subsidies served to protect jobs and support businesses that might otherwise have been lost,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

“While we have seen the number of people receiving a Main Benefit rise due to COVID-19, interventions like the wage subsidies and Government investment have meant the numbers are well below what was forecast,”

Overall, 47% of New Zealand jobs (excluding sole traders) received at least one of the 2021 wage subsidies.

In 2020, 69% of employed men and 54% of women were supported by a wage subsidy. This fell to 54% and 41% respectively in 2021. 45% of all unique jobs held by Māori (excluding sole traders) were supported by at least one of the 2021 wage subsidies. This is a similar rate to jobs held by NZ Europeans (45%) and Pacific People (43%).

“In general, patterns of 2021 wage subsidy distribution were similar to those in 2020 with jobs in some industries being more likely to need wage subsidies or multiple wage subsidies, especially the accommodation and food, and arts and recreation industries.

“That’s why Government continued to respond as demand arose, for example, with additional support for the arts and culture sector, large-scale events and a reactivation package for Auckland. These also sat in conjunction with other support available such as the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment, Leave Support Scheme, Short-term Absence Payment and the extensions to the Wage Subsidy.

“We know that businesses right across the motu are what makes Aotearoa New Zealand tick. The wage subsidies have been an important tool in our toolbox in supporting them, and protecting people in nearly half of our jobs,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

The report Who received the 2021 COVID-19 wage subsidies looks at how the 2021 COVID-19 wage subsidies were distributed across the population and compares the results with previous research on who took up the 2020 wage subsidies.

Click here for the Report.