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All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1. Restrictions are in place for businesses to keep workers and customers safe.

For more information on safely operating visit Workplace operations at COVID-19 alert levels

COVID-19: Financial support for businesses

A summary of the financial support available to help you, your business and employees through the response to COVID-19.

Overview of support available at different alert levels

All of these COVID-19 support initiatives have eligibility requirements that must be met. See below for details.

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is not automatically activated each time the COVID alert level rises from level 1. Generally, the Government will make a decision about activating the RSP if the alert level is raised for at least 7 days.

  Alert Level 1 Alert Level 2 Alert Level 3 Alert Level 4
Resurgence Support Payment   yes yes yes
Leave Support Scheme yes yes yes yes
Short-Term Absence Payments yes yes yes yes
Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme) yes yes yes yes
Business Debt Hibernation yes yes yes yes

Resurgence Support Payment 

Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) applications are open for eligible businesses that were affected by the alert level increase announced on 23 June 2021.

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 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. You must have been in business 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. Applications will remain open for one month after all of New Zealand returns to Alert Level 1.

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.

You can also calculate how much you may be entitled to and how to apply on Inland Revenue’s website.

Eligibility details(external link) — Inland Revenue

Resurgence Support Payment(external link) — Inland Revenue

If you 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.

Manage my tax(external link) — Inland Revenue

Wage Subsidy Scheme

The Wage Subsidy Scheme March 2021 was available from 1pm on 4 March 2021 to 11:59pm on 21 March 2021.

Businesses and the self-employed were eligible if they experienced a 40% drop in revenue over a consecutive 14-day period between 28 February 2021 and 21 March 2021, compared to a typical 14-day period between 4 January 2021 and 14 February 2021. If your business had highly seasonal revenue, you could compare your drop in revenue to the same period of 14 consecutive days in 2020 or 2019.

You needed to be able to show that the revenue drop is due to the change in alert level, not just COVID-19 in general. 

Information on the Wage Subsidy Scheme March 2021(external link) — Work and Income

Wage Subsidy Scheme revenue calculator [XLSX, 22 KB] – Inland Revenue

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.

More information and how to apply(external link) – Work and Income

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.

Leave Support Scheme(external link) — Work and Income

How to apply for the Leave Support Scheme(external link) – Work and Income

Small business cash flow loan scheme (SBCS)

Government will provide loans to small 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 through myIR.

If you received a loan before these changes were made, your terms and conditions will be updated by 31 December 2020. You won’t need to do anything to get them updated.

The small business cash flow loan scheme 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
  • 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 six months
  • maximum amount you can borrow depends on the number of full-time and part-time employees.

Use the small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool and find out how to apply.

COVID-19: Small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool

Applications are open from 12 May until and including 31 December 2020 through myIR. Go to the 'I want to' section, and select 'Apply for the small business loan'.

myIR(external link) — Inland Revenue

If your businesses doesn’t have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.

Register a myIR account for a business or organisation(external link) — Inland Revenue

Most applicants will receive their loan payment in full from Inland Revenue within five working days. You don’t have to accept the full loan amount you’re offered, and can decide to take a smaller loan.

Tax and ACC support

If you’re having difficulties meeting your tax obligations due to COVID-19, Inland Revenue has various support schemes and options to help.

COVID-19 business and organisations(external link) — Inland Revenue

ACC levy invoices for the 20/21 financial year would usually have been sent from 1 July, but will now be sent in October. ACC has more information about delayed invoices and guidance to help.

Easing the COVID-19 burden on businesses(external link) — ACC

If you are having trouble making ACC payments, ACC has guidance to help. If you are no longer in business, it’s also a good idea to let ACC know.

General COVID-19 information for businesses(external link) — ACC

Business debt hibernation

Business debt hibernation is a government initiative created in response to COVID-19. It helps companies, trusts, and other business entities affected by COVID-19 to manage their debts. Applications are open until 31 October 2021.

If business debt hibernation is right for your business, this is how it helps you manage your debts.

  • You set up an arrangement for your existing debts, eg paying your creditors only a percentage of what you owe them on time and delaying the rest.
  • You get up to a month of protection while you set up the arrangement, meaning most creditors can’t enforce their debts, eg applying for your business to be liquidated.
  • If your creditors agree, you get a further six months of protection.

Use the business debt hibernation decision tool to find out if it’s a good option for your business and if so, how to get started.

COVID-19: Business debt hibernation

Business finance guarantee scheme

Applications for a Business Finance Guarantee loan are closing soon. Applications must be approved, signed and documented by June 30 to be eligible, so if you’re interested in applying talk to your bank or a participating lender soon.

Participating lenders can provide new loans, increased limits to existing loans or a revolving credit facility to eligible businesses. The scheme supports lenders by government taking on the default risk of up to 80% of the loan.

The loans can be used for capital purchases and projects relating to, responding to or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. This means businesses can use the credit, for example, to modify their premises to operate at different alert levels or meet changing demands. Banks can lend to businesses with an annual revenue of up to $200m, while loans are available from non-bank lenders for businesses with annual revenue up to $50m. There is a lending limit of $5m, or $3m from a non-bank.

The Crown has also clarified that it will guarantee its share of a scheme loan without a personal guarantee – though lenders make their own lending decisions and may have their own requirements. Borrowers are still liable to pay the loan back in the usual way.

Business Finance Guarantee scheme(external link) — Treasury

R&D loan scheme

Callaghan Innovation’s R&D Loan Scheme is to help businesses continue their research and development activities impacted by COVID-19.

Details of the loans include:

  • up to $400,000 to support planned eligible R&D activity
  • interest free if the loan is paid back in full within a year
  • 3% interest from the start of the loan
  • repayments not required for the first three years
  • maximum loan period of 10 years.

Businesses are eligible if:

  • they have R&D activity in place, or were preparing an R&D plan before COVID-19
  • they are planning on spending at least $50,000 on eligible R&D activity
  • their R&D funding has been impacted by COVID-19.

R&D Loan Scheme(external link) — Callaghan Innovation

Got questions? Call the COVID-19 business helpline.

Got questions? Call the COVID-19 business helpline.

North Island 0800 500 362
South Island 0800 505 096

Financial support tool

The financial support tool from Unite for the recovery can help you find out what financial help may be available to you.

The tool will take you through a series of questions about to find out more about your personal situation including:

  • your work status
  • your situation
  • whether your workplace has reduced business.

Financial support tool(external link) — covid19.govt.nz

COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme

The COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme has been established to support travel agents and wholesalers while they recover refunds and credits owed to New Zealanders travelling overseas.

Participating travel agencies and wholesalers will be reimbursed for:

  • 7.5% of the value of cash refunds, and
  • 5% of the value of credits successfully secured on behalf of customers.

Reimbursement is available for refunds and credits processed from 14 August 2020, for bookings confirmed on or before 14 August 2020.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment has more information on who is eligible and how to apply.

COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme(external link) — Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Resurgence Wage Subsidy has closed

The Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme was available from 1pm 21 August 2020 and closed at 11:59pm on 3 September 2020. This supported employers, the self-employed and sole traders, who were further impacted by COVID-19 due to the increased Alert Levels.

The Resurgence Scheme provided a two-week subsidy to eligible businesses, self-employed and contractors. Businesses must have experienced an actual or predicted 40% revenue drop for any consecutive period of at least 14 days within the period of 12 August to 10 September compared to a similar period last year.

Resurgence Wage Subsidy(external link) — Work and Income

Wage Subsidy Extension has closed

The Wage Subsidy Extension finished on 1 September 2020. The Wage Subsidy Extension payment was available for 8 weeks, to support employers, including sole traders, who were significantly impacted by COVID-19 after the initial Wage Subsidy ended. Businesses had to have experienced a minimum of 40% decline in revenue over a 30-day period within 40 days prior to applying for the extension, compared to the closest period last year.

Work and Income has more information and help on Wage Subsidy Extension applications.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension(external link) — Work and Income

Visit Employment NZ for information on obligations for paying your staff and tax treatment.

Wage subsidies and pay(external link) — Employment NZ

Income Relief Payment has closed

The COVID-19 Income Relief Payment was available if you lost your job (including if you are self-employed) from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020 due to COVID-19. The scheme ended on 13 November 2020. If you are receiving the Income Relief Payment, you will continue to receive payments until 4 February 2021.

COVID-19 Income relief payment(external link) — Work and Income

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