April 14, 2020

FlexiTime payroll data reveals drop in wages across NZ due to COVID-19

An analysis of weekly payroll data from payroll company FlexiTime shows the COVID-19 pandemic has caused a significant decrease in average earnings per employee as well as in the number of employees being paid by businesses who pay their staff weekly.

FlexiTime specialises in payroll for businesses with part-time and casual employees, including hospitality and tourism - sectors that have been particularly affected by the pandemic.

CEO Robert Owen said the analysis focused on employees paid weekly, with these regular workers likely to be taking the greatest drop in earnings from COVID-19.

"Businesses are trying to save costs to stay afloat until after the lockdown,” Owen said.

“We are seeing a total drop in wage costs of 21 percent, coming from a 16 percent drop in weekly pay for employees and a reduction in the number of employees being paid.”

A sample of 26,577 employees paid weekly was taken for the week ending March 14th (pre-lockdown) and compared to the week ending April 11th. This showed a decrease of 16.02 percent in weekly pay, which represents a drop from $904.18 to $755.64 per week. The number of employees being paid dropped by 3,085, or 11.6 percent. The total weekly wage cost to businesses continuing to pay staff decreased from an average of $10,516 to $8,305 - a drop of 21 percent.

Owen said the analysis also showed there were many businesses that may have been utilising casual employees for whom there was now no work. Some 6.5 percent of the 2,300 businesses sampled had stopped processing regular weekly payroll. He said FlexiTime had received a large number of enquiries about how to process the government’s COVID-19 wage subsidy in payroll, so many businesses had taken up that assistance.

"We have been providing assistance to our customers receiving the wage subsidy by offering a subscription holiday, with around 400 businesses having taken up our offer to date. We're in the fortunate position of being able to continue paying our staff for working from home during the lockdown and we want to help our customers get through this difficult time. Providing a free subscription is a small contribution, but when your business isn't bringing in any revenue every dollar counts.”

See FlexiTime's payroll statistics to track the real impact of COVID-19 on New Zealand businesses and employees.