With the increase in COVID-19 alert levels this week, there are a number of government relief initiatives available to businesses and self-employed people throughout New Zealand. Find out about the Resurgence Support Payment, the Wage Subsidy, the Leave Support Scheme, and Short-Term Absence Payments.
All of these COVID-19 support initiatives have eligibility requirements. See below for details.
COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment
The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment helps businesses directly affected when there’s an increase from Alert Level 1 for a week or more. It helps to cover wages and fixed costs.
14 February Alert Level increase
Businesses can apply through myIR until 22 March 2021 for support due to the 14 February Alert Level increase. It is available to all eligible businesses and organisations in New Zealand.
28 February Alert Level increase
Businesses can apply through myIR from 8 March 2021 for support due to the 28 February Alert Level increase. It is available to all eligible businesses and organisations in New Zealand.
Who is eligible
To be eligible for the payment, your business must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue or capital-raising ability over a 7 day period after the increased Alert Level, and meet other criteria.
Eligible businesses can apply to receive the lesser of:
- $1,500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTEs, or
- 4 times the actual revenue drop experienced by the business.
Businesses and organisations can apply for the payment each time it is activated, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.
Applications are open for one month after the return to Alert Level 1.
COVID-19 Wage Subsidy March 2021
The Wage Subsidy March 2021 helps employers and self-employed people to continue to pay employees and protect jobs for businesses affected by the rise in Alert Levels on 28 February 2021.
Check if your business is eligible
Your business needs to have a 40% decline in revenue over a 14-day period between 28 February and 21 March, compared with a typical 14-day period between 4 January and 14 February 2021.
This wage subsidy is available to businesses throughout New Zealand.
It will be paid for 2 weeks at the rate of:
- $585.80 a week for each full-time employee retained (20 hours a week or more)
- $350 a week for each part-time employee retained (less than 20 hours a week).
You can’t get the Wage Subsidy for an employee for the period they're covered by a Leave Support Scheme or Short-Term Absence Payment.
Apply for the Wage Subsidy March 2021
Applications opened on 4 March 2021. Payments start from 8 March 2021.
COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme
If your employees have been advised to self-isolate and they cannot work from home, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme for them. You can also apply if you are self-employed or a sole trader.
The scheme means employees and self-employed people receive an income if they cannot work from home while they’re self-isolating.
You can apply for the payment if your employees are not able to be at work, cannot work from home and have advised you that:
- they have COVID-19 and must self-isolate until a medical practitioner advises they can leave self-isolation
- they have been directed to self-isolate, or are the parent or caregiver of a dependant who has been directed to self-isolate, by a Medical Officer of Health (a Medical Officer of Health is defined in the Health Act 1956)
- they are identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19, and they have been advised to self-isolate by a medical practitioner or through the National Contact Tracing process
- they are the parent or caregiver of a dependant who has been advised to self-isolate by a medical practitioner or through the National Contact Tracing process, or
- they are, or they have household members who are, most at risk of severe illness from COVID-19 (as defined in official Government public health guidance), and have been advised by a medical practitioner to self-isolate.
The COVID-19 Leave Support payment is paid as a lump sum, calculated to cover 2 weeks. You can re-apply after this time if your employees still qualify.
The criteria for getting the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme changed at 9am on 9 February 2021. If you applied before this time, you need to meet the old criteria.
If your employees need to stay home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result and cannot work from home, the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment is available.
COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment
The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment helps businesses to pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result. This payment is also available to self-employed people.
The payment helps businesses keep paying employees who:
- cannot work from home, and
- need to stay at home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result (in line with public health guidance)
A one-off payment of $350 is available for each employee. You can apply for it once for each eligible employee in any 30-day period. However, you can apply for it again if a health official or doctor tells them to get another test.
The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is still available for businesses to help pay employees who need to self-isolate for other reasons and cannot work from home.
If you'd like to find out more about these COVID-19 government relief initiatives and other financial support that you could be eligible for, please contact our team at Nexia New Zealand. We can also help you review your business plans through this time of uncertainty.