The Government’s Unite Against COVID-19 website here continues to be the up to date source for all information on financial support for businesses.
One of the most valuable tools in finding out what financial help may be available to you and your business is the COVID-19 financial support tool. It takes you through a step by step series of questions to understand your personal circumstances, and then tells you what financial help and support you can access, and where.
If you need any business-related advice or support, a free COVID-19 Business Helpline is available for all businesses in the South Island on: 0800 50 50 96 or the North Island on 0800 500362.
Immigration and labour updates
You can find updated Seasonal Labour information, including information about Immigration processes, RSE and SSE schemes on the NZW website here.
Financial support for staff
You can find a useful summary of the business support available here.
There is a package of support available, including:
- The Wage Subsidy Scheme was reactivated for August 2021. Businesses anywhere in New Zealand can apply for the Scheme if they expect a loss of 40 percent of revenue as a result of the recent Alert Level increase. The rates have been increased to reflect the increase in wage costs since the scheme was first used in March 2020. Businesses will be eligible for $600 per week per full-time equivalent employee, and $359 per week per part-time employee. The Wage Subsidy will be paid as a two-week lump sum. Applications close 9 December and can be made here.
- A Short Term Absence Payment to cover eligible workers needing to stay at home while awaiting a COVID19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350 to employers to pay workers who need to stay home while awaiting a test or while someone who is their dependent is doing so, in accordance with public health advice. Further information about this payment is available on the MSD website.
- The Leave Support Scheme helps businesses to help pay workers told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. It’s paid as a lump sum and covers two weeks per eligible employee at the rates of $585.80 for each employee working 20 hours or more a week and $350 for each employee working less than 20 hours a week. Information is available here.
Please note that you cannot get more than one COVID-19 leave payment for the same employee at the same time (i.e. you cannot receive both the Leave Support Scheme and the Short-Term Absence Payment).
While the Wage Subsidy Scheme will cease, the Leave Support Scheme and Short-Term Absence Payment will continue under the traffic light system.
Financial support for businesses
Resurgence Support Payment: This payment is available for businesses facing a 30% or more reduction in revenue due to an alert level increase to Level 2 or higher. Organisations can receive $1,500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, up to 50 FTEs. The maximum payment is $21,500.
Applications for the available payments close 6 January 2022, with the affected revenue period for the final payment starting from 19 November to 2 December.
More information, including how to apply, can be found here.
Transition payment: A one-off payment is also available to businesses from December 10 as they move into the new traffic light system.
The payment will be up to $24,000, based on $4,000 per business plus $400 per FTE up to a cap of 50 FTEs. Businesses will need to show a drop in revenue of 40 per cent in the period between October 3 and November 9 and must be compared to a typical week in the six weeks before August 17.
Small business cash flow loan scheme (SBCS): Government will provide loans to small-to-medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs. Applications have been extended and are now open until 31 December 2023. You can apply online through myIR (go to the ‘I want to’ section, and select ‘Apply for the small business loan’).
The SBCS will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time employees. This includes sole traders and self-employed businesses.
Details of the loans include:
- $10,000 to be provided to eligible businesses, with an additional $1800 per equivalent full-time employee
- interest free if the loan is paid back within two years
- an interest rate of 3% for a maximum term of five years
- repayments not required for the first two years
- you must show at least a 30% drop in revenue due to Covid-19, measured over a 14-day period in the past 6 months
- maximum amount you can borrow depends on the number of full-time and part-time employees.
You can use the small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool to find out more.
Business debt hibernation: This initiative was designed to help businesses affected by COVID-19 to manage their debts. Applications are open until 31 October 2021. There is a tool available here that may help you decide if it’s a good option for your business and if so, how to get started.
Tax, ACC and excise support: If you’re having difficulties meeting your obligations due to COVID-19, there are various support schemes and options which may assist:
- Excise support:
- If you are unable to pay your Excise duty on time due to the impact of COVID-19, please contact Customs on email@example.com (including your Customs client code and due date) to discuss payment options and they will do their best to accommodate.
- Please note that excise entries must still be lodged in the usual timeframes, as this is a legal requirement. Even if you have difficulty making payment, it is important that you still lodge an entry as that will support Customs to assess payment options. Please contact your local excise officer at the earliest opportunity if you will have difficulty lodging your entry.
- Some duty payers may be entitled to a remission or refund on interest and penalties on late duty payments. Find out more here.
- ACC assistance: ACC has an information portal on support for businesses, available here.
- Temporary loss carry back scheme: Businesses expecting to make a loss in the 2021 year can use that loss to offset profits they made the year before. Find out more here.
- Provisional tax: Increasing the provisional tax threshold from $2,500 to $5,000 from 2020/2021. Find out more here.
- Depreciation and low value assets: Changing depreciation for commercial and industrial buildings from the 2021 income year onwards. IRD has also increased the low value asset threshold for depreciation to $1,000. Find out more here (under the heading “Law changes to aid compliance”).
Employment-related COVID-19 information - useful links
- Employment guide for workers at different COVID-19 alert levels - Answers to frequently asked questions that workers may have at different alert levels including: Health and safety, Leave and pay, Workplace changes.
- Early Resolution – This is a free phone-based service for employees and employers that helps resolve workplace issues early, quickly, and informally, before it becomes too serious or needs a more formal process.
- COVID-19 financial support – Current financial support schemes for businesses, employers and employees including: Resurgence Support Payment, Wage Subsidy Scheme, Short-Term Absence Payment and the Leave Support Scheme.
- Leave and pay entitlements during COVID-19 - Rights and responsibilities regarding pay and leave during COVID-19 response and recovery.
- COVID-19: Guidance for payroll professionals - Key messages for payroll professionals around what employment law looks like in the COVID-19 environment to help answer any questions that are presenting.
- Modifying employment agreements during COVID-19 - Options to deal with the impacts of COVID-19 in the workplace if an employer wants to make changes to existing work arrangements.
- Terminating employment agreements during COVID-19 - Good faith processes to follow for workplace change, and redundancy should only be considered as the last resource, only if no suitable alternative arrangements have been found.
- Vaccines and the workplace - General guidance to assist businesses and workers.
- Temporary changes to parental leave law due to COVID-19 - These law changes allow some workers on parental leave to temporarily go back to work without losing their entitlements.
- Addressing health and safety concerns- Guidance for workers and businesses operating during the different COVID-19 Alert Level restrictions.
- Wage subsidy and Leave Support: Complaints about employers - If you believe your employer is acting unlawfully in regards to the wage subsidy schemes or Leave Support Scheme, here are the steps to resolve your concerns or make a complaint.
- Rules around Essential Services: Find out if your business can open during Alert 4 and other alert levels.
- COVID-19 alert levels and the workplace – Important guidance for employees, employers and businesses from Employment New Zealand.
- Employment New Zealand - The leading source of information on employment rights and responsibilities for employers and employees in New Zealand.
Other support for businesses
Storage space in your Customs Controlled Area: If you run out of storage space for wine at your winery, Customs may be able to issue a permit to remove finished wine from your Customs Controlled Area and store it elsewhere. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Treasury updates: The Treasury is publishing weekly economic updates, including a dashboard report tracking the impacts of COVID-19 on the economy. Find out more, and access the weekly updates, here.
Mental health support
If you feel that you or your workers are not coping, it is important to talk with a health professional. For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, anyone can call or text 1737 – free, anytime, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – to talk with a trained counsellor.
[Last updated 18 August 2021]