COVID-19: Financial support for businesses

A summary of the financial support available to help you, your business and employees in times of difficulty, to recover from the effects of COVID-19.

Auckland remains at Alert Level 2 and the rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1. Restrictions are in place for businesses to keep workers and customers safe.

Auckland remains at Alert Level 2 and the rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1. Restrictions are in place for businesses to keep workers and customers safe.

All businesses can operate, provided they can meet the rules to operate safely. Businesses are required to display the official QR codes for the NZ COVID Tracer app at all alert levels.

For more information, check out the business.govt.nz page for Workplace operations at COVID-19 Alert Levels.

Applications for the COVID-19 wage subsidies have closed.

Applications for the COVID-19 wage subsidies have closed.

There is information about further support for your business below. If you are concerned about your finances or your business because of COVID-19, you can contact the free Business Helpline for North Island 0800 500 362 or South Island 0800 505 096.

If you have staff who can’t work because of COVID-19 you may be eligible to apply for the Leave Support Scheme.

There are a few COVID-19 financial support schemes available to businesses, depending on your situation. Learn more about each type of support and where you can find more information.

On this page:

Leave Support Scheme

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme provides a payment to businesses to pay their workers who need to take leave due to COVID-19 public health guidance.

Under changes to this scheme, businesses will no longer be required to show an actual or predicted revenue drop or 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

Small business cash flow loan scheme

Government will provide one-off loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs.

The small business cash flow loan scheme will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time employees.

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 a year
  • an interest rate of 3% for a maximum term of five years
  • repayments not required for the first two years.

Applications have been extended until and including 31 December 2020. Use the small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool and find out how to apply.

COVID-19: Cash flow loans and support

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

Income relief payment

Support is available for people who lose their jobs. If you lose your job (including if you are self-employed) from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020 due to COVID-19, you may be able to receive the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment. Find out if you’re eligible and how to apply at Work and Income.

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

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.

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

More small and medium-sized businesses may be eligible for the Business Finance Guarantee scheme, with a simplified and expanded scheme now in place.

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

Changes to the scheme mean the loans can be used for capital purchases and projects in response to or recovery from COVID-19. This means businesses can use the credit, for example, to modify their premises to operate at different alert levels. Additional changes to the scheme have made it available to larger businesses (revenue up to $200m) and offering a higher lending limit ($5m).

The Crown has also clarified that it will guarantee its share of any loan without a personal guarantee – though banks 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

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

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

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