Events such as the current pandemic and natural disasters like the Canterbury earthquake have caused widespread job losses and seen successful businesses close. Economic challenges are likely to become more frequent, with technology replacing more jobs done by people. The move to a low-emissions economy will see significant changes in how we do things, and some industries, like oil and gas, will be replaced by others over time.
The Government, Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions have proposed a new way of better protecting workers and the economy: a New Zealand Income Insurance scheme.
They have worked together to develop the proposed scheme which would support workers with 80% of their income for up to seven months if they lose their job through no fault of their own.
It would give people the time and financial security to find a good job that matches their skills, needs and aspirations, or take part in training or rehabilitation for a new, fulfilling career.
People whose ability to work has been impacted by a health condition or disability would be supported to take the time off work to recover properly, work reduced hours, or retrain if they couldn’t continue in the same job.
The proposed scheme would play a key role in better protecting workers and incomes, matching skills with businesses that need them, and helping to support communities and industries to transition through economic changes.
Like ACC, the scheme would be funded by levies on wages and salaries, with both workers and employers contributing.
The New Zealand Income Insurance Scheme would be a significant change for New Zealand. The Government, Business New Zealand and the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions asked for your views on the proposed scheme. Schemes like these are common across the developed world, and temporary schemes have been set up here in New Zealand after economic crises.
You can read the initial announcement by the Finance Minister, Business New Zealand CEO and New Zealand Council of Trade Unions President:
Consultation begins on income insurance scheme to protect workers, benefit businesses(external link) — Beehive.govt.nz