Income insurance "crucial" for workers' protection, says union

Income insurance "crucial" for workers' protection, says union | Insurance Business New Zealand

Income insurance "crucial" for workers' protection, says union

FIRST Union, New Zealand's second-largest private-sector trade union, has said it supports the government’s proposed income insurance scheme, hailing it as “crucial” in protecting workers.

“The tripartite agreement between business, government and unions regarding the creation of a social income insurance scheme is crucial to support people when they need security most,” said Dennis Maga, FIRST Union general secretary.

Maga said the scheme is a necessary step towards a better and fairer economy in the country.

“A major part of advocating for workers is also to ensure that people are able to access support when work is disrupted, and social income insurance fills a major gap in our economic system,” he said.

According to Maga, the COVID-19 pandemic showed the importance of such a scheme to support New Zealanders who are between jobs or made redundant, particularly when welfare cannot be accessed easily by everyone.

The consultation on the scheme runs until April 26, and Maga urged the public to engage in the development of the scheme and support the proposed legislation, which has received backing from a wide spectrum of stakeholders.

“As an example, this scheme would have benefitted many of our members who were made redundant early on during the pandemic at retailers like The Warehouse,” Maga said. “The extra protection provided by illness cover would also benefit people who suffer long-term injury in addition to ACC support.”