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Youi no longer getting WINZ subsidies

NZN 3/06/2016 Paul McBeth

Youi NZ, the insurer under scrutiny over its sales techniques, is no longer getting Work and Income New Zealand subsidies aimed at getting people into work who are most at risk of getting stuck on a benefit.

The local unit of the South African insurer received government grants of $21,000 and $48,000 in the 2015 and 2014 June years, which it recognised as flex-wage subsidies from Work and Income. Those subsidies provide short-term support to help cover the cost of training and supervising a new employee moving from a benefit and into work.

For Youi, that covered 0.6 per cent of its $7.7 million wage expense when it first started operating locally in 2014, and was barely 0.1 per cent of its $21.5 million salary bill in 2015, and the Ministry of Social Development says Youi "is not currently in receipt of the flexi-wage employment subsidy."

The insurer has come under scrutiny over its sales techniques, triggering an investigation by the Commerce Commission. The regulator has completed that investigation but has yet to announce its next steps.

Employers sign a formal agreement outlining the terms and conditions of accepting a flexi-wage subsidy for an employee, and MSD can withhold payment if the government department believes those aren't being met.

Youi didn't respond to BusinessDesk inquiries.

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