The following financial help and wage information may be useful for jobseekers, employees and employers. Three Support Funds are available in New Zealand to help people with disabilities and impairments to get or keep employment: Job Support, Training Support and Self Start.
Financial help for employers employing disabled people
Job support funding can be for:
- workplace assessments to work out the level of workplace support required
- modifications to a workplace
- job coaching (generally short-term) to help a disabled person learn a new job, if their disability means they need extra assistance or a different format for learning the job
- buying physical support needed because of the job (eg on-the-job physiotherapy or care)
- NZ Sign Language interpreter services - for deaf or hearing impaired people
- special equipment to accommodate a person's disability
- costs of transport and parking, which a person without a disability wouldn’t have
- a support person to provide on-the-job guidance and instruction to the employee
- productivity allowances to cover any shortfalls in productivity related to a disability
- accessibility help with, or extra, induction training needed because of the person's disability
- disability awareness training for workmates to promote a smooth entry into the workplace for both the disabled employee and other employees.
The scheme is very flexible and there will be many other support services which may be funded. For more information or to apply, visit Workbridge (external link)
Modification Grants provide financial help to disabled people to help them get or stay in employment, by removing barriers. Modification Grants are paid to employers or suppliers to fund, or help fund, the following:
- modifications to the workplace, such as ramps and handrails
- adaptation of equipment, eg cordless phones where the equipment will stay with the employer if the employee leaves
- buying specialised equipment needed, eg visual aids or computer equipment where the equipment will stay with the employer if the employee leaves.
Employees can apply for Modification Grants through Workbridge or Work and Income
For more information visit Work and Income (external link) .
Flexi-wage wage subsidy
You may be able to get a Flexi-Wage subsidy to help you employ someone who is getting a government benefit and you may also be able get help with their training costs, through Work and Income.
Flexi-wage (external link) provides room for flexibility in terms of how, when and what the money can be spent on. You may be able to get a combination of wage subsidies and training.
To find out more about Job Streams and flexi-wage, contact Work and Income Employer Line on 0800 778 008.
Skills investment subsidy
Employers who want to help people develop the skills they need to do their job may be able to access the Skills Investment Subsidy. This may also include help with their training costs.
Minimum wage exemptions for people with disabilities
Minimum wage exemptions are available for some people with disabilities. Labour Inspectors can issue minimum wage exemption permits to employees who have a disability that limits them from carrying out the requirements of their job. This means a lower minimum wage rate is set for a particular person in a particular job for the period in the permit.
The mainstream employment programme (external link) provides a package of wage and training subsidies to help people with significant disabilities get work. People are placed in jobs for a two-year period to gain the knowledge, skills and experience necessary to get a job on merit in the future. The positions created are tailored to the skills and abilities of the person and the needs of the employer.
Financial help for employees and job seekers
Financial Assistance is available from the government to help people with disabilities to participate in open employment by covering the direct cost of disability.
Training Support is financial support for a person with a disability undergoing a period of assessment, work experience, training or education as part of their plan to gain open employment. It can only be used for training opportunities that are linked to the NZQA framework, or involve other educational institutions approved by the Ministry of Social Development. For more information visit Workbridge
Income exemption for working disabled beneficiaries
The income a person earns from their job can affect their benefit amount. Work and Income may grant an exemption for severe disablement (external link) . This recognises the effort severely disabled people must use to get and keep a job and acts as an incentive to work.
Supported living payment
Supported Living Payment is help for people who have, or are caring for someone with, a health condition, injury or disability. You may be able to get the Supported Living Payment if you are:
- permanently and severely limited in your ability to work because of a health condition, injury or disability
- totally blind
- caring full-time for someone who would otherwise need hospital-level or residential care who is not your husband, wife or partner.
For more information visit Work and Income (external link) .
Sustainable employment trial
If you are getting Supported Living Payment you might be able to try out going back to work doing fewer hours without losing your benefit. You can work 15 or more hours a week for half a year (26 weeks) to see if you are fit to take up some work again. For more information visit Work and Income (external link) .
Employment transition grant
The Employment Transition Grant is a weekly payment which helps some people who have completed a Supported Living Payment Employment Trial. For more information visit Work and Income (external link) .
Work Bonus is an incentive payment available if you choose to work even though you don’t have work obligations as a condition of your benefit. You may be able to get a Work Bonus if you were getting a Supported Living Payment because of poor health, an injury or disability (your partner may also be able to get financial help if they’re on this benefit too). For more information visit Work and Income (external link) .
If you (or a child you are caring for) has a disability, you may be able to get the Disability Allowance. This helps with the extra costs people have because of a disability, eg regular visits to the doctor, medicines, extra heating, special food or travel. For more information visit Work and Income (external link) .
For general information on types of assistance available, visit Work and Income (external link) .