Wage Subsidy and Leave Support Schemes: Complaints about employers

If you believe your employer is acting unlawfully in regards to the Wage Subsidy or Leave Support Schemes, here are the steps to resolve your concerns or make a complaint.

Last updated: 13 May 2020

  • The Wage Subsidy Scheme is to help employers pay the wages of their employees over a 12 week period, even if employees are not able to work due to COVID-19.
  • The Leave Support Scheme is for employers to pay their employees in situations where employees can’t come to work because Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home and cannot work from home.

When applying for these schemes, all employers must agree to conditions including those listed below.

  • At a minimum, employers must pass on the full subsidy received for each named employee. If a person's income is normally less than the subsidy amount they can be paid their normal income.
  • Employers cannot unlawfully require named employees to use their annual or sick leave, leave without pay, or other leave entitlements.
  • Being asked to use leave entitlements or any other changes to employment agreement terms cannot be done unless the changes have been discussed with you in good faith and are in writing.

Before you make a complaint about an employer

  1. Ask your employer if they have applied for a payment scheme and if they have listed your name on the application. Employers can apply for either scheme for some or all of their employees.

    You can search for businesses that have received payments from either the Wage Subsidy or Leave Support scheme on the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) website. Publishing this information ensures that payments are transparent and that the scheme is accountable to the public. If you cannot find your employer, their application might not have been processed yet or they may not have applied.

    Search the register on MSD’s website (external link)
  2. To fill out a complaint form you will need to use the business name as listed with Inland Revenue. This may be different to the public name that your employer trades as. If you don't have this, ask your employer for it, check your employment agreement, or refer to the account name against any salary deposits into your bank account.

    You can also look them up on the NZBN website (external link)
  3. To ensure we understand the nature of your complaint please provide us with full and complete information. This will help us better understand your situation and if need be, escalate your complaint to those that can help. Without complete information, we can’t check your claim or refer you to the right agency.

Making a complaint about an employer

For any other queries or complaints not related to the Wage Subsidy or the Leave Support schemes please use our Contact us form.

Once you've given us your information

When reviewing Wage Subsidy or Leave Support complaints, we look for any misuse or non-payment. We aim to help you with your complaint through a facilitated resolution process which involves contacting you and (if necessary) your employer to better understand the issues you are experiencing.

If your complaint cannot be resolved with your employer through this process we will discuss the next steps to refer you on to:

  • Employment Mediation Service's early resolution service, who work on cases that have outstanding employment relations issues, or where issues are preventing the subsidy being paid, or to
  • the Ministry of Social Development who work on cases that require further investigation, such as where fraud is suspected.

Please note that some complaints we receive may be referred immediately and the first contact you receive about your complaint submission will be from either of the agencies mentioned above.

If your complaint is referred to Employment Mediation Services, an independent mediator will help you and your employer resolve your complaint. Mediators are experienced in dealing with large high-profile organisations and unions, and routinely resolve contractual and good faith issues in relatively short timeframes.

If your complaint is referred to the Ministry of Social Development (MSD), it will be first assessed to determine the next steps and whether a full fraud investigation is warranted. Depending on the complexity of the complaint the timeframes can vary. Customers who wish to follow up with MSD can contact their allegation line on 0800 556 006 or email them on fraud_allegations@msd.govt.nz.

 

 

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