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COVID-19: Wage subsidy and leave support

Information about the wage subsidy and the leave support scheme. Find out if you are eligible and how to apply.

New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. Businesses can open but must operate safely.

New Zealand is at Alert Level 2. Businesses can open but must operate safely.

Play it safe, continue to do everything you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

For more information about operating at Alert Level 2, check out the business.govt.nz page for Workplace operations at Alert Level 2.

The wage subsidy helps businesses affected by COVID-19, and supports businesses and their staff to maintain an employment connection. It:

  • supports employers adversely affected by COVID-19, so that they can continue to pay their employees
  • supports workers to ensure they continue to receive income.

Who can apply for the wage subsidy

The wage subsidy is available to all businesses adversely affected by COVID-19 including:

  • self-employed
  • contractors
  • sole traders
  • registered charities
  • incorporated societies
  • post-settlement governance entities
  • pre-revenue research and development start-up companies that are seed or venture capital backed. 

The subsidy is not available to state sector organisations.

Eligibility and the Wage subsidy extension

The current Wage subsidy scheme provides a 12-week payment per named employee. Businesses are eligible for the subsidy where they have experienced a 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue related to COVID-19. This scheme expires on 9 June 2020.

Government has announced a Wage subsidy extension, which provides an 8-week payment per named employee. Businesses must have experienced a minimum 50% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the 30-day period immediately prior to applying for the extension, versus the nearest comparable period last year. There are different calculations for organisations where this calculation is not possible, such as new businesses or pre-revenue firms.

The Wage subsidy extension is available from 10 June 2020. Eligible employers will need to reapply through Work and Income once their current 12-week subsidy has come to an end.

Visit Work and Income for more information.

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

Before receiving a subsidy, you must take active steps to manage the implications of COVID-19 on your business. This might include talking with your bank, making an insurance claim, or activating your business continuity plan.

Business continuity planning

To see if you are eligible for the subsidy, follow these steps.

  1. Use the Wage subsidy eligibility tool to assess your eligibility
  2. Apply for the Wage subsidy scheme on the Work and Income website (external link) . They will verify the information you provide in your application with Inland Revenue.

Tip: We recommend that you ensure your IR details are up to date before applying for the subsidy – you can check online at the Inland Revenue website (external link) .

Leave support scheme

Support is available for employers who meet the eligibility criteria to pay employees in situations where employees need to stay away from work due to public health guidance and can’t work from home. Employers can make the application for support to pay employees. The self-employed or contractors can apply directly.

COVID-19 Leave support (external link)  — Work and Income

Employment New Zealand has more information about employer and worker eligibility, payment details and guidance about workplace scenarios.

COVID-19 Leave support scheme (external link)  — Employment New Zealand

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