The New Zealand Government has recently announced a number of ways they are offering financial relief to help businesses stay on their feet through the COVID-19 lockdown. Here, we explain them in layperson terms (because who really understands government-speak). The government is aiming to make these payments available as soon as possible (their aim is for within 5 days, but processing times may be delayed depending on the number of applications they receive) so make sure to get your application in as soon as you can, if applicable.
1. Wage Subsidy
What is it? The government announced a payment stimulus to help businesses cover wages for businesses who are impacted by COVID-19 and face laying off staff or reducing their hours because of the lockdown.
What does it mean? The government will pay a flat rate of $585.80 per week to employees working 20+ hours a week, or $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours a week. The payment is made as a lump sum of 12 weeks per employee, once only.
How do I get it? If your business has proved a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue (compared to the same period last year) because of COVID-19-related reasons of the nationwide lockdown, and you have taken steps to try and mitigate the impact of COVID-19, you can apply for the payment through this link.
You have 3 full-time employees working 38 hour weeks (usually) and 2 part-time employees who work 15 hours per week, and you are eligible for the wage subsidy. You will receive one payment of $29,488.80.
2. Leave Payment
What is it? A payment to help cover the costs to pay leave for employees needing to self-isolate (as determined by the Ministry of Health guidelines) or if they cannot work due to sickness with COVID-19 or caring for a dependent with COVID-19
What does it mean? The government will pay a flat rate of $585.80 per week to employees working 20+ hours a week, or $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours a week. The payment can be made for up to 14 days (self-isolation period) and as people might be required to self-isolate more than once, it can be made on as “as needed” basis. If the employee is sick with COVID-19 (or looking after a dependent person who is sick), the payment will cover the entire period they are unable to work (you will just need to apply for the payment for the employee every 14 days). When you apply, you will need your IRD number, your business name and address, the names of your employees and their IRD numbers, and the contact details for your business and the employees.
How do I get it? Affected employees must self-isolate in line with Ministry of Health guidelines, and be registered with Healthline. Employees cannot be able to work from home, and their self-isolation can’t be due to having left New Zealand and returned under the travel ban from 16 March 2020. You can apply for the leave payment through this link. When you apply, you will need your IRD number, your business name and address, the names of your employees and their IRD numbers, and the contact details for your business and the employees.
The information in this article is accurate as at Thursday 26 March 2020. We are aware that more schemes are being discussed, and we will update this article, and our Shortcuts community, once the New Zealand Government releases more information.