Government must keep improving COVID-19 support scheme so New Zealanders can self-isolate: Greens

The Green Party are calling on the Government to assess how the COVID-19 leave support scheme can be better improved, distributed and enforced so that workers can properly take leave when self-isolating.

“There is anecdotal evidence that people are not staying home from work when they should, either because they can’t afford to, or because their employer is asking them to come in. The Government needs to take another look at its support system to make sure we’re keeping everyone safe from COVID-19”, Green Party COVID-19 Response spokesperson Julie Anne Genter said today.

“We need people to be able to afford staying home from work when they need to self-isolate. If this means the scheme needs to be more generous, we would absolutely support that. Our policy of a Guaranteed Minimum Income would ensure everyone has enough to live with dignity.

“We should also explore whether workers should be able to apply for financial support directly, so that it is not left up to employers, who may not apply or may withhold payment.

“There is a big power imbalance with the schemes application sitting with the employer, rather than the employee. This has resulted in some businesses either not properly giving the support out or not applying in the first place.

“The success in keeping Aotearoa free of COVID-19 rests on the ability for New Zealanders to stay home. We must always be reviewing how we can improve support schemes that help make this happen”.

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