Thursday, October 30, 2008

Insurance for the recession

Thanks to the actions of Wall St gamblers, the economy is in trouble, and people stand to lose their jobs. So what's the government going to do about it? In the case of National, we don't know yet - they will release their policy tomorrow. As for Labour, they're offering to waive stand-downs and means testing for the unemployment benefit for 13 weeks for those made redundant. It's a good move, which will insulate people to some extent from the effects of the recession and provide people with a window in which to find their feet again. At the same time, the unemployment benefit is a lot lower than the average wage, and most employment contracts include no provision for redundancy. So many will find themselves with bills to pay while facing a sharp drop in income.

What this stresses is the need for redundancy payouts. Labour is promising to legislate for statutory redundancy payouts; National has made no such promise (and their response [PDF] to the EPMU workrights survey specifically avoids the issue). That seems to be a clear choice right there.