Prime Minister John Key today announced extended assistance for Christchurch businesses and workers following the initial Earthquake Support package launched last month.
Both the Earthquake Support Subsidy for employers and the Job Loss Cover for workers will be extended until 18 April, followed by a second round of assistance with tighter application criteria.
“The purpose of this initial package was to be a solid first step for Christchurch businesses and individuals on the road to rebuilding their lives and livelihoods,” says Mr Key.
“Following the extension of the Earthquake Support package, those businesses which are currently receiving the Earthquake Support Subsidy, and which remain viable but need short-term support, will be eligible to apply for the second round of the Earthquake Support Subsidy.
“There will also be an exceptions process for those businesses that do not meet the tightened criteria, but which can demonstrate a strong case for limited additional support”, says Mr Key.
Those businesses qualifying for the second round of the Earthquake Support Subsidy will receive payments at gradually-reducing rates each fortnight over the six-week period.
The second round of the Subsidy will, for the first fortnight, stand at the current rate of $500 gross per week for full-time employees, and $300 for part-time employees. This will reduce to $375 and $225 (part-time) for the second fortnight, and $250 and $150 (part-time) for the third fortnight.
Job Loss Cover for those workers who lost their job immediately after the earthquake will be extended until April 18. After that date, an Individual Support Payment will be introduced for six weeks, which will essentially be a top-up in addition to the unemployment benefit.
“The support recognises people who have lost their main source of income, and provides additional support as they move to find alternative work.
“This support is part of the Government’s wider economic recovery package for Canterbury,” says Mr Key.