“The tripartite agreement between business, Government and unions regarding the creation of a Social Income Insurance scheme is crucial to support people when they need security most, and proposed the scheme is a necessary step towards a better and fairer economy in Aotearoa,” said Dennis Maga, FIRST Union General Secretary.
“A major part of advocating for workers is also to ensure that people are able to access support when work is disrupted, and social income insurance fills a major gap in our economic system.”
“The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us the necessity of such a scheme to support those who are between jobs or made redundant, particularly when welfare cannot be accessed easily by everyone.”
The proposed scheme will provide workers with 80% of their income when they lose jobs through redundancy or health conditions, for a period of up to seven months. Government consultation on the scheme runs until 26 April 2022, and Mr Maga is urging people to engage in the development of the scheme and support the proposed legislation, which has received widespread backing from stakeholders across the spectrum.
“As an example, this scheme would have benefitted many of our members who were made redundant early on during the pandemic at retailers like The Warehouse,” said Mr Maga.
“The extra protection provided by illness cover would also benefit people who suffer long-term injury in addition to ACC support.”
“The consensus on this scheme also supports the need for a wider increase in existing unemployment benefits, as not all people will have access to this support, and unemployment benefits must rise in line with the Welfare Advisory Group recommendations.”
“Additionally, migrant workers who are contributing towards this scheme must also enjoy its benefits and have peace of mind that these protections are available to them as well.”
“New Zealanders have some of the lowest protections in the world in terms of job losses, and a social unemployment scheme is crucial to bring us up to the standard of other countries.”