Canterbury survey shows importance of subsidy “lifeline”

"This survey shows that the wage subsidy has been a lifeline for local businesses to continue to protect the livelihoods of many in our local community, reducing job losses and business failure.'

A recent ‘Pulse Check’ survey of Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) member organisations shows just how critical the wage subsidy has been, ahead of many wage subsidy payments coming to a close on 12 June.

The survey was sent to approximately 8,750 businesspeople and received 276 responses.

Of the respondents, 86% accessed the wage subsidy, with nearly all whom accessed the payments indicating that it helped to keep their business going. Over 82% said it has helped them to keep all employees.

Applications for the first phase of the wage subsidy opened on March 17 and payments were for a 12-week period. An extension of the subsidy will be available from 10 June.

Of the survey respondents, only 37% said they would be applying for the subsidy wage extension which requires businesses to have a 50% drop in revenue due to COVID-19.

Of those that would be applying, 92% said it would enable them to keep their business going; 78% said it would enable them to retain some or all of their employees.

Chief Executive Leeann Watson says the results demonstrate how important the subsidy has been for employers and employees in the Canterbury region.

“This survey shows that the wage subsidy has been a lifeline for local businesses to continue to protect the livelihoods of many in our local community, reducing job losses and business failure.

“The results also show how important finding the right balance for the extension threshold will be to ensure it is still within reach of those businesses that are viable long-term but may be struggling in the interim due to still not being able to operate at full capacity for a number of reasons. We continue to work closely with Government, alongside BusinessNZ, to ensure there is targeted ongoing support for businesses significantly affected.

“We also continue to advocate for a firm timeline and clarity on the criteria for transition to Alert Level 1 to provide business owners and employers surety of what lies ahead, so they can plan, prepare and position themselves for what will continue to be a challenging time ahead for business.”

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