8 Dec 2009

Claim WINZ encourages personal grievance cases

5:41 pm on 8 December 2009

The Employers and Manufacturers Association wants the Government to investigate claims that WINZ staff are encouraging people to take personal grievances so they can access a benefit.

An EMA survey claims 56 out of 759 respondents believe they have had a case taken against them so a former employee could get a benefit immediately.

The association says it is now talking to 10 people who say they have evidence to prove this has been happening.

WINZ denies the claims, saying anyone who receives a benefit under such circumstances must repay it.

But EMA employment services manager David Lowe says WINZ keeps no permanent records on such cases and the loan effectively becomes a benefit.

Offer of discussions

Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett says she is happy to discuss employers' concerns.

She says the issue has only recently come to her attention, but she is happy to discuss the association's concerns in the New Year.

Ms Bennett says WINZ is always looking at its data collection systems to ensure it is getting accurate information on the money people are repaying.