COVID-19 Financial Support for Business
As you are no doubt aware, Auckland is currently operating at Level 3 and the rest of the nation is at level 2 for the rest of the week, challenging times for all. It is important that all businesses are aware of the Government Support available to them. We have listed some of the key schemes below:
For the most up to date information always check: www.business.govt.nz/covid-19/financial-support-for-businesses
Levels of support available at different levels
Wage Subsidy Scheme
The Wage Subsidy Scheme will be available nationwide if any part of the country moves to Alert Level 3 or above for seven days or more.
Businesses and the self-employed will be eligible if they experience a 40% drop in predicted or actual revenue over a consecutive 14-day period, compared to a typical fortnightly revenue in the six weeks before the rise in alert level. You would need to be able to show that the revenue drop is due to the change in alert level, not just COVID-19 in general.
Resurgence Support Payment
A Resurgence Support Payment may be activated if the alert level increases from Level 1 for a week or more. Businesses and organisations will be eligible if they experience a 30% drop in revenue over a 7 day period after an alert level increase and meet other eligibility criteria. This drop is compared to a typical 7 day period in the 6 weeks before the increase in alert level. The decline in revenue must be a result of the specific alert level change, not just COVID-19 in general. You must have been in business for at least 6 months to be eligible. Charities, not-for-profit organisations, the self-employed and pre-revenue businesses, such as start-ups, may also be eligible.
This payment is not a loan, so does not need to be repaid. The payment must be used to help cover business expenses such as wages and fixed costs. Applications will remain open for 1 month after the return to Alert Level 1. The current round of applications will close on 23 March 2021.
Short-Term Absence Payment
A COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available at all Alert Levels to employers to pay workers who follow public health guidance and are staying home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers. To be eligible, workers need to be unable to work from home and need to miss work while waiting for the test results.
The payment is $350 for each worker. Employers or the self-employed can apply for any worker once in any 30-day period.
Leave Support Scheme
The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme provides a payment to businesses to pay their workers who meet certain health criteria, eg they have COVID-19. This is also available if you’re self-employed.
If you, or your staff have been told by a health official to self-isolate and cannot work from home, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme. This support will be paid as a lump sum covering two weeks (you can reapply if required).
Under changes to this scheme in 2020, businesses are no longer be required to show an actual or predicted revenue drop or that their ability to support an employee was negatively impacted by COVID-19, to be eligible to access the payment.
A full list of all financial support available for business can be found on the business.govt.nz website. Make sure you know what support is available for your business and your staff.