Current financial support schemes for businesses, employers and employees.
Employment law still applies to all employment relationships, regardless of the circumstances that we find ourselves in, including during a pandemic or a natural disaster:
At each alert level change, employers and employees should first talk about whether the employee can continue to work normally and how the employee can work safely at home or at their place of work.
Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) applications opens nationally from 8am on Tuesday 24 August 2021. Applications open for one month after a nationwide return to Alert Level 1.
Businesses and organisations are eligible if they experience a 30% drop in revenue over a seven day period after an alert level increase and meet other eligibility criteria. This drop is compared to a typical seven-day period in the six weeks before the increase in alert level. Seasonal businesses should show a 30% revenue drop compared with a similar week the previous year.
The decline in revenue must be a result of the specific alert level change, not just COVID-19 in general. Businesses must have been in operation for at least six 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.
There have been some recent changes to the eligibility criteria for commonly owned groups. A commonly owned group generally consists of businesses that have the same owners. Some individual businesses or organisations within a commonly owned group may now be eligible for RSP. You can find examples of commonly owned groups and more eligibility criteria for the RSP on the Inland Revenue website.
Businesses can also calculate how much they may be entitled to and how to apply.
If businesses don’t meet the criteria for RSP but do have cash flow problems, Inland Revenue can help. Visit their Manage my tax page for more information.
Applications for the Wage Subsidy Scheme open nationally from 9am on Friday 20 August 2021, with applications initially open for two weeks. Businesses can apply on the Work and Income website.
The Wage Subsidy is available to eligible businesses, organisations and the self-employed impacted by the move to Alert Level 4 on 17 August 2021.
To reflect higher wage costs since the scheme was first used in March 2020 the payments have been increased to:
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.
There’s a one-off payment of $350 payment for each eligible worker. This payment increases from 24 August 2021 to $359 for each eligible worker. Employers or the self-employed can apply for any worker once in any 30-day period.
Find out more, and how to apply.
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 employees have been told by a health official to self-isolate and cannot work from home, their employers can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.
This support will be paid as a lump sum covering two weeks (businesses can reapply if required) of $585.50 per week for full-time workers and $350 per week for part-time workers. From 24 August 2021, the payment increases to $600 per week for full-time workers and $359 per week for part-time workers.
Under changes to this scheme in 2020, businesses are no longer 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.
Employment law has not changed. The financial support schemes operate alongside existing employment law. Employment obligations have not been removed or changed by employers accessing COVID-19 financial support. Employers must ensure that they are meeting their pay obligations under both employment law and the requirements they agreed to when applying for these COVID-19 financial support schemes.
Employees must be paid the higher of the amount that they are entitled to under employment law or the relevant wage subsidy requirements:
If employees have questions about how these payments apply to them, such as whether the employer has applied for any scheme or when and how much they will receive, employees should contact their employer in the first instance.
If talking to employers doesn’t resolve the problem, or employees think their employer has acted unlawfully, employees can make a complaint with us.
There are other financial support available to both individuals and businesses. Find out more on the website covid19.govt.nz