Pressure mounts on PM Ardern to end lockdown

The powerful Employers and Manufacturers’ Association (EMA) is asking prime minister Jacinda Ardern for a precise plan on getting businesses and their people back to work that goes well beyond what it calls the “confusing and vague Auckland Alert Level 3 stepped process that offers virtually nothing for business”.

EMA Chief Executive Brett O’Riley says employers, who are only just hanging on, are desperate to get back to business and so are their people.

“With increasing numbers of employees being vaccinated – and our members telling us they are willing to be tested at work – where’s the plan to make this happen not just for the good of our economy and business, but for the wellbeing of our communities and people? says O’Riley.

EMA CEO Brett O’Riley.

“Our member businesses are telling us that in addition to bearing the brunt of restrictions for the country financially, it’s the uncertainty of when they might get back to work that’s plaguing them and causing immense financial and mental pressure.”

He says this precise plan should be a top priority for the Government. It should include immediately reducing the revenue loss qualification for the Wage Subsidy and Resurgence payments by 10% to 30%.

“Of equal importance now is supporting the return to workplace for people’s mental health,” says O’Riley.

“While more contact has been enabled with family in controlled circumstances, this doesn’t apply if you’ve got a staff member who’s really suffering and you would like to support by safely paying them a visit.

“Our members are doing a great job of supporting their people in a huge variety of ways, but more needs to be invested by Government in terms of targeted programmes for workplaces and giving them the same right to personal support.

“That and a precise plan for when and under what specific conditions they can get back to work will help them immensely.”