Government extends earthquake support package

Date: 4th April 2011

The current Earthquake Support Subsidy (ESS) to help employers keep paying wages will be extended for two weeks to 18 April, followed by a further six-week round with tighter criteria.

The next round will be available to employers who, can’t operate because of physical barriers caused by the earthquake, can demonstrate ongoing viability and have already been receiving ESS round one. The next round will not be available to employers experiencing a loss of trade, or sole traders.

Employers who can show they need only short-term support, before being able to pay wages themselves, will continue to get ESS at gradually reducing rates over the six week period. The rate of $500 gross per week for full-time employees for the first fortnight will reduce to $375 for the second fortnight and $250 for the third fortnight.

Businesses that do not meet the new criteria, but which have exceptional circumstances may be considered on a case-by-case basis by an extensions panel, made up of Canterbury employer representatives.

Employers who wish to access ESS will need to re-apply for both, for the two week extension by 30 March and for the second round by 7 April.

The current Job Loss Scheme for workers of $400 per week for full time employees will also be extended for an additional 2 weeks until 18 April.

Application forms will be available at

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