Question :
Hi there,I operate an essential business of petrol station and was trading under Level 4 of Covid19 as well. I claimed a wage subsidy for my employees. One of my employee whom I claimed the wage subsidy for was unable to work during level 4 as there was no one was available to look after her son while she was at work. She was only employed for less than two months and there was no annual leave available for her. As it was a tough time for everyone; I paid her annual leave in advance from the wage subsidy I received at 80% rate of her average pay without work to cover later on when she was back at work. I have deducted 16.47 hours from her worked hours and she still owes me 25.81 hours paid in advance. Now she has left the job and owe me the annual leave paid in advance (25.81 hours). Could you please confirm that she is liable to pay me the annual leave paid in advance and I can recover that as a debt from her.

Question submitted 14/06/20 @ 08:48am
Industry: Funding & Finance
  • Hi There it’s probably best to chat with an employment lawyer. I know a couple if you want an informal introduction.



    Hi there – it is actually quite a challenging question, separate to the wage subsidy, whether there is any liability from the past employee. I have reached out to a couple lawyers too. Andy

    There are a few pitfalls here. The first thing to be aware of is that in normal circumstances you can recover overpayments provided the Wages Protection Act and the employment agreement permit it. What is different to normal circumstances is that wage subsidy money has been used to meet the advance holiday payments and the declaration for the wage subsidy that you signed required you to undertake to pay the full subsidy through to the employee. As you used wage subsidy money to fund annual leave, there is an argument that it would be contrary to the wage subsidy scheme to now claw back that money by way of debt recovery proceedings.

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