The Vanuatu Chamber of Commerce & Industry (VCCI) received in total 167 completed surveys from business members on the Employment Stabilization Payment and we would like to share the summarized findings with you in the presentation attached.
In essence there are several key findings we would like the Government to be aware of:
- Over 60% of eligible businesses are yet to receive April payments. This percentage increases for May and June. As the Employment Stabilization Payment was designed to support employees to remain in paid employment during the COVID-19 crisis period it is becoming increasingly more difficult for businesses to be able to pay their staff while waiting for the promised support.
- 42% of businesses that have applied for and received March payments of the ESP are small businesses with 4 staff members and under demonstrating that the business community is largely made up of small businesses. These small businesses often do not have cash reserves to turn to in such tough times.
- With the ESP coming to an end in June we are requesting that an extension of a minimum of 3 months is offered to the ESP so that businesses can retain staff while working out what is next for them in this increasingly difficult economic environment.
- Concerningly, if the ESP does not get extended over 58% surveyed will be making staff redundant with the ending of the ESP payment in June. On top of this many businesses simply cannot afford to pay out severance and entitlements so will out staff on leave without pay.
- Recently both the Australian and New Zealand governments extended their employee support by an additional three months to September, in recognition of the ongoing hardship faced by SMEs in their own countries.
We have shared our findings and recommendations to relevant ministries of the Government and will continue to lobby for extended support.
Thank you again to those who participated in this important survey.