Wage subsidy and Leave Support: Complaints about employers

If you believe your employer is acting unlawfully in regards to the wage subsidy schemes or Leave Support Scheme, here are the steps to resolve your concerns or make a complaint.

Last updated: 11 June 2021 

  • The wage subsidy schemeshelp employers pay the wages of their employees if they were financially impacted by 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 they 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 as wages. If a person's normal wages or salary are less than the relevant subsidy rate, they can be paid their normal wages or salary.
  • Employers cannot unlawfully require named employees to use their annual holidays or sick leave, leave without pay, or other leave entitlements.
  • Receiving a wage subsidy does not change the terms and conditions in the employment agreement. Being asked to use leave entitlements or make any changes to the terms in your employment agreement cannot be done unless the changes have been discussed and agreed 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 could apply for the Wage Subsidy, Wage Subsidy Extension, Resurgence Wage Subsidy or the Leave Support Scheme for some or all of their employees.

    You can search for businesses that have received payments from a wage subsidy scheme or the Leave Support Scheme on the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) website. Publishing this information ensures that payments are transparent and that the schemes are 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 schemes, or the Leave Support schemes, please contact us.

Once you've given us your information

When reviewing a wage subsidy or Leave Support complaint, 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:

  • Early Resolution Service, who work on cases that have outstanding employment relations issues, or where issues are preventing the subsidy being paid, or 
  • the Ministry of Social Development who work on cases that require further investigation, such as where fraud is suspected.

Early Resolution Service

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 can help you and your employer resolve your complaint. Mediation is voluntary. 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.



Page last revised: 11 June 2021

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