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 is at Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. Restrictions are in place for businesses to keep workers and customers safe.

Auckland is at Alert Level 3 and the rest of New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. Restrictions are in place for businesses to keep workers and customers safe.

Businesses must self-assess their ability to meet the rules and operate safely, just as they would normally meet their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act. Government agencies won’t make these decisions for businesses.

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

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:

Wage subsidy extension and leave support

A wage subsidy extension payment is available to support employers, including sole traders, who are still significantly impacted by COVID-19 after the wage subsidy ends. Businesses must 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.

The wage subsidy extension is available to employers for 8 weeks, so you can keep paying your employees. Applications are open between 10 June 2020 and 1 September 2020.

Employers can apply for the wage subsidy extension once you have finished paying your employees the original 12 week wage subsidy.

Use the wage subsidy eligibility tool to find out if it’s a good fit for your situation.

COVID-19: Wage subsidy extension and leave support

Leave support scheme

The COVID-19 leave support scheme provides a payment to businesses to pay their workers who can’t work. This means your employees:

  • can’t come into work due to COVID-19 public health guidance, and
  • can’t work from home.

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

Small and medium-sized businesses may be eligible for the business finance guarantee scheme to support operating cash flow disrupted due to COVID-19. 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. Lending decisions are made by banks. Borrowers are still liable to pay the loan back in the usual way.

Business Finance Guarantee scheme (external link)  — Treasury

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)  — Unite for recovery.govt.nz

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

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