Question :
I am currently tangled in an unfortunate and exhaustingsituation where I cannot access wage subsidy and have been misled by Winz onwhat to do about it, my employer is negating anything to do with it and I amunsure what to do as I’m suffering pretty major losses now.A brief timeline and description of events is as follows..Employed and working through Extrastaff, sub-contracted to Frank MillerElectrical from:  13/11/2019 – 19/12/2019 – 5 weeks13/1/2020 -23/3/2020     – 10 weeks On 23/3/20 I was told with half a days notice today is the lastday I will be working with Frank Miller.On 23/24 asked for holiday pay in email so i had money over thelockdown because it seemed like things were getting crazy and I wanted tofinancially secure myself (you will soon see the irony).On 24/3 Received response from Extrastaff saying “yep, sorted it”.Sent email inquiring about Wage subsidy to Extrastaff on May 1st – No response                                                                        Sentagain           May 8th – Reply “Lookinginto it”Sent again           May 18th -Said I am struggling andreceived response in 10 minutes saying “Hey manWe applied for our guys who were working for us. Youresigned so we didn’t end up applying for youI would say go back to MSD and ask them for it to see ifyou can get it through them.Sorry I can’t be of more help”.This meant that the agency “Extrastaff” unregistered me as anemployee of theirs and so could not claim wage subsidy for me. They have takenmonths to reply to me with anything solid and only a few days ago told me thatthey could not get the wage subsidy for me. When i went in and spoke to themabout it on 20/5/20 they made it clear they cannot claim wage subsidy forspecific people after the fact.On 25/3/20 I had applied for Jobseeker support and was contacted by Winz overthe phone about it. I was told that I should not continue the process andshould follow up wage subsidy as the woman was sure I was eligible when Iexplained my circumstance and that it was put in place for people like me, shechecked with other people in her room that deal with wage subsidy stuff so Ihave taken her word for it and have pursued the wage subsidy up until now. When I called up Winz on 20/5/20 still trying to follow up onthe wage subsidy I was told that they now can’t guarantee I will be back paidover the lockdown period, and that I should apply for Jobseekers supportagain…. Talk about been kicked while your down, I continued trying to get wagesubsidy for this whole time off of their advice and now I am told I may not getback paid. Pretty stressful.Over the lockdown I received an email from Extrastaff addressed by name onApril 3 about Alert Level 4, Pay and employer obligations, and a statement thatread..“In our previous email to you last week we advisedyou that we had applied for the Government Wage Subsidy on your behalf. We havebeen working through individual Government Subsidy detail with management atThe Ministry of Social Development (MSD) over the past week.” Idid not receive an email before that saying they had applied for my wagesubsidy.I did receive more emails after that around April 20th though, asking about mycurrent situation and availability to work and hygiene and new protocols thatare now in place for working during lockdown. It was not clear to me I was nolonger employed with Extrastaff at that point in time, these emails alsoindicated otherwise. As you can see I have tried to do the right thing given the extreme situationby asking for my holiday pay after I lost my job directly due to coronavirus onthe same day lockdown was announced. Because I did this, I can’t get a wagesubsidy that I have been told I otherwise would have got. It seems like I’vefallen through a loophole in the law maybe.. ? I’ve spent nearly all my savingsand now to know I may not get back paid for Jobseeker Support means I may haveto move out of my home. Hopefully you can offer me some advice around this situation, I feel stuck betweena rock and a hard place with people that keep pointing the finger at eachother. I don’t feel like Extrastaff have wronged me at all but rather that thesituation is a new and tricky one. I have never needed help like this butrecent events have been difficult enough and I just want the support that Ihoped would be there for me..Any help would be so greatly appreciated,Ayrton C  Cell – 0212341152  Email –duffa44@gmail.com

Question submitted 21/05/20 @ 12:53pm
Industry: People & Culture
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    Hi there – I am very sorry for what you have gone through. Let me see if I can help a bit (maybe the answers will not be super helpful):
    1. What is the status of your employment relationship with your employer? Do you have an employment contract with them, and what were the ‘terms’ around continued employment? Were you full-time, part-time and/or casual with them – e.g. when you finished a job at Frank Miller Electrical, are Extrastaff obligated to bring you back and keep paying you or once that work finishes is that it until they find you more work? Short answer – the legal relationship is important.

    2. Wage Subsidy – was created for ‘firms’ to stay connected to their full-time and part-time workers through Covid-19 – it was a ‘right’ to the Company to enable them to keep their staff employed and support the costs, but it was not a right to or for the employees. What this means is that Extrastaff could only claim for their full time and part time employees of the business, they cannot claim for contractors or consultants. If you were a contractor in your own right, you might be able to claim the wage subsidy – this goes back to the situation on your employment relationship with Extrastaff.

    3. Extrastaff – I would only assume that Extrastaff were also freaking out through this period, and were not sure about the rules, regulations as well – it looks like they were trying to work it out as they went through it. Hard for you, I know.

    4. Winz and MSD – I really don’t have a lot of experience in this, the engagement sorry and am not sure how to support or guide you – what I would say, first work out the nature of your employment relationship with Extrasstaff – did you resign or not, or did they just ‘assume’ or ‘claim’ you resigned then that was not something that they could do – if you get this clear, then you can work out whether you have to look at the Jobseeker support and I hope Winz and MSD would have guidance for you.

    I am wishing you the best – and hope some of the other advisors could jump in and provide some guidance. Andy


    Further to my advice above, the awesome team at V-CFO are happy to look into this with you – and I will connect you up on email – Andy


    Hi Ayrton, a very unfortunate situation and many questions arise, as highlighted by Andy.
    As it is an accredited labour-hire company, I expect you were an employee of Extrastaff and based on what you have written it is surprising, to say the least, that they have determined that you resigned on 23/24 March. You indicate having contacted them in connection with holiday pay. Was there anything in your communication that would indicate your resignation? I presume there was some correspondence around the discontinuation of your employment given your approach to MSD in connection with the Jobseeker benefit on 25 March, and it is regrettable that the person you spoke felt that you should pursue the wage subsidy. As per Andy’s comments above, it might be that she confused your status as being self-employed given the contractor arrangement with Frank Miller Electrical, but this contractor arrangement was between the two companies.
    Where Jobseeker is applied for online, MSD will normally look to backdate the start date to the date the online application was started. In this instance, do you have a record of the person you spoke to and the information that was shared so that you might be able to make a case for your own benefit entitlement beginning from 25 March.

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