More than 200 workers laid off from a quake-hit Christchurch textile plant could qualify for job loss support, but their union says the Government needs to send clearer messages about the help available.

Godfrey Hirst subsidiary Canterbury Spinners yesterday announced its plant in suburban Bromley had suffered irreparable damage in last month's quake, forcing its closure and the loss of all 220 jobs.

The workers would get redundancy pay and 50 had been offered jobs at the company's other two plants.

However, questions have been raised over their eligibility for the Government's quake assistance scheme.

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today said many would be eligible for the $400-a-week job loss scheme.

The employer assistance scheme, which excluded offshore-owned companies like Canterbury Spinners, had different criteria to the job loss scheme, which applied to individuals regardless of who their employer was.

Redundancy payments would not effect their eligibility, Ms Bennett said.

"It's not income or asset tested so many of those workers will be eligible for that cover."

The Government was looking at whether the scheme needed to be extended after its six-week term expired in just over a fortnight.

"We're looking at what that means for people who have lost their jobs, of which we're really aware there's going to be quite a few," she said.

"Most of them will go onto the benefit system, because that's kind of what they're there for. At the other extent you've got employers that want to get up and running, and what assistance do they need to do that."

The National Distribution Union, which represents many of the Canterbury Spinners workers, said it was welcome news that the scheme did not exclude workers who received redundancy.

But general secretary Robert Reid said workers would remain "very concerned" by a disclaimer that said workers must repay any monies they were not entitled to.

"Workers will not apply unless they know 100 per cent that they are entitled to the payment," he said.

"They do not want to be in a situation where WINZ may seek to cover any money incorrectly or wrongly paid at a later date."

He also questioned whether eligibility would kick in at the time of redundancy or after the notice period had finished.

Mr Reid said although it was acknowledged that case-by-case exceptions could be made, clarity was needed for all Canterbury workers, not just those at Canterbury Spinners.

- NZPA