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12 Sep 2021

Fiona Connor, NewsHub

New Zealand: Savor Group alleged to be underpaying staff during lockdown despite the company receiving wage subsidies from the government

"Savor Group staff paid 3 hours a week in lockdown despite bosses claiming wage subsidies upwards of 20 hours’ work", 11 September 2021


Newshub has spoken to four such employees – all of whom work for Savor Group, which owns some of Auckland’s most critically acclaimed restaurants – who say a ‘grey area’ in the wage subsidy guidelines has allowed their employer to pay them well under what they’d normally earn in a week.


The result has caused huge frustration and upset for workers on minimum-hour contracts who have highlighted an area that makes them lose out significantly despite their employer appearing to do nothing wrong.  The company has defended its position, stating it followed wage subsidy requirements and paid all staff in accordance with their employment contracts, but has since moved to change its approach.


Newshub spoke to four employees who say they are among many left desperate to receive the full amounts of the wage subsidies after the company had made applications under their names, but were only paid based on their minimum contracted hours of three hours each.  The group were left unable to pay bills after being dealt a wage subsidy significantly less than their average weekly pay.


A Savor Group spokesperson told Newshub: “All staff have been paid in line with their employment contracts, and have been offered the opportunity to top their weekly payments up with any leave balances they have available to them.”

“In addition to the moneys made available and in excess of the wage subsidy, on an employee by employee basis, we have established a hardship fund to assist any employees in difficulty, we have made payments out of this fund where employees have written to the company expressing their issues. At the date of writing, Ayla has not made any such hardship request to the company,” the spokesperson said.