Two more companies have signed up to the Job Support Scheme, better known as the nine-day fortnight, and the government says plenty more are interested in joining.
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today announced that Oamaru-based Summit Wool and another manufacturing firm, which wishes to remain anonymous, had joined Fisher & Paykel Appliances in signing up to the scheme.
This means that so far 123 jobs have been “saved” by the scheme: 60 at Fisher & Paykel’s manufacturing arm, 57 at Summit Wool and six at the unknown firm.
“We are now seeing the benefit of this scheme for employers and their employees as we work through these difficult economic times,” Ms Bennett says.
“The impact of retaining these jobs for at least the next six months should not be underestimated. Summit Wool is Oamaru’s second-biggest employer.”
She says Work and Income had had around 60 approaches from mainly manufacturing and construction businesses about the scheme and how it might work for them.
“I expect that more firms will come on board in the next few weeks,” she says.
Under the scheme, employers, workers and unions will negotiate voluntary agreements to reduce their hours of work.
The government will pay employers $12.50 (the adult minimum wage) an hour per worker, for up to five hours a fortnight.
Workers cannot be made redundant while they are in the scheme.