Interested in hiring someone? The Ministry of Social Development may be able to help through its recently expanded Flexi-wage employment programme.
MSD is New Zealand’s largest employment service, with a nationwide network connecting job seekers and businesses. The Flexi-wage programme is just one of the ways MSD helps job seekers get a job, by working with employers and supporting job seekers to get a job and get the skills they need to do the job so they stay employed.
The Government is investing an additional $300 million into Flexi-wage, including $30 million ring-fenced to support people who are out-of-work into self-employment. The changes are expected to support up to 40,000 more New Zealanders into work over the next two years.
The Flexi-wage expansion took effect on 15 February and widened eligibility to support job seekers who are not on a benefit but are disadvantaged in the labour market. It previously only supported people at risk of being on a benefit long-term. MSD has also increased subsidy rates for eligible job seekers and introduced set rates and durations to provide more certainty for potential employers.
The expansion doesn’t affect current Flexi-wage contracts, which will continue.
Examples of staff employed through Flexi-wage include an IT worker, made redundant and supported to retrain for a job as a truck driver, a teacher who needed to change jobs due to a health condition and retrained as a machine operator, and several job seekers who had been unemployed for a considerable time and were employed at a café that works closely with Work and Income when they’re looking for staff.
Information for employers
Flexi-wage support can include training and in-work support (such as pastoral care), as well as a wage contribution. The job must pay the minimum wage and be ongoing, continuing after the Flexi-wage support has finished.
A business may be able to get Flexi-wage to support an employee at risk of redundancy who can be employed in a different role within the business, while they gain the skills required to do the new job.
MSD staff discuss with the employer the level of support the candidate needs to gain the skills to do the job and whether it will be a Flexi-wage subsidy, training, in-work support (such as pastoral care) or a combination.
Depending on the level of support the candidate needs, Flexi-wage may be paid for:
- 24 weeks, at $276 a week, totalling $6,624 (GST inclusive), or
- 36 weeks, at $276 a week, totalling $9,936 (GST inclusive).
Work and Income has some discretion to pay a higher amount if the candidate has complex or specific needs.
To find out more go to the Flexi-wage page on the Work and Income website.
Flexi-wage for self-employment
The Flexi-wage expansion includes increased support, through training and mentoring, for people out-of-work and wanting to start their own business.
Flexi-wage Self-employment will include:
- $600 a week over 28 weeks, totalling $16,800 (GST inclusive), which can be pro-rated for someone with obligations that mean they can only pursue part-time self-employment.
Someone receiving Flexi-wage Self-employment may also be able to get a Business Training and Advice Grant of up to $5,000. This is for help to develop a business plan or participate in training for business skills.
For someone moving into self-employment there may also be able to access up to $10,000 to help with business start-up costs through the Self-Employment start up payment
To find out more go to the Flexi-wage page on the Work and Income website – you’ll find more information about who can apply under Self-employment.