Financial support for businesses impacted by COVID-19

Am I eligible for the wage subsidy or other COVID-19 government support?

It’s been tough for retail businesses to operate under NZ Alert Level 3 lockdown, and Alert Level 2. You may be eligible for the wage subsidy, or other COVID-19 financial support, if your business has been affected.

Do you need help accessing these benefits? Or have you got questions/comments around COVID-19 financial support or Wage Subsidy? Ask us first, via 0800 472 472 or [email protected].

The Government has announced details of a new Wage Subsidy, to help businesses through the current COVID-19 Alert Level situation. This is available to businesses anywhere in New Zealand, and not just those in Auckland.

To qualify, you need to experience a 40% decline in revenue, over a consecutive 14-day period, between 28 February and 21 March. This is compared to a typical 14-day period, between 4 January and 14 February 2021 (6 weeks before the change in Alert Levels). We understand this 40% threshold applies to your whole business, not to individual stores.

The Wage Subsidy March 2021 will be paid for two weeks at the rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for each full-time employee retained (20 hours a week or more).
  • $350 a week for each part-time employee retained (less than 20 hours a week).

Note: You can’t get a Wage Subsidy for an employee for the period they’re covered by a Leave Support Scheme or Short-Term Absence Payment.

You can apply for the new Wage Subsidy from 1:00pm, Thursday 4 March. Click here for the Wage Subsidy application form. You may also be eligible for the Resurgence Support Payment (see below).

The Resurgence Support Scheme is for organisations with reduced revenue due to COVID Alert Levels increase to Level 2 or higher.

Applications are currently open for the Resurgence Support Payment and can be made up until the 23 March 2021.

What payment will I receive?

You can receive the lesser of:

  • $1,500 plus $400 per fulltime-equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTEs, or
  • Four times (4x) the actual revenue drop experienced by the applicant.

Am I eligible?

To be eligible a business or organisation must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue over a 7-day period after the increased alert level. This period then needs to be compared against a typical 7-day revenue period that starts and ends in the 6 weeks prior to the increased alert level.

How do I apply?

Apply for this COVID business support through myIR on the IRD website. You may also be eligible for the government Wage Subsidy scheme (see above).

A COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment is available, to assist employers with paying employees, for the time it takes to obtain a COVID-19 test result.

Who is eligible for the payment?

This payment is available from 9am on 9 February 2021 and can be applied for when the employee:

  • Is unable to work from home. 
  • Needs to miss work to stay at home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result (as described in public health guidance).
  • Is a parent or caregiver who need to miss work to support their dependents who are staying at home awaiting a test result.
  • A household member or secondary contact (as described in public health guidance) of someone who is a close contact of a person with COVID-19, and the worker has been advised to stay at home while waiting for the close contact’s test results.
  • The employee provides their consent for the employer to apply on their behalf.

What period does the scheme apply to?

The employee must have had the COVID-19 test on or after the 9 February 2021. Also, you can apply up to 8 weeks after the test is taken.

You can only apply for it once, for each eligible worker, in any 30-day period (unless a health official or doctor tells the worker to get another test).

What is the payment I will receive?

There’s a one-off amount of $350 for each eligible worker. Also, this is regardless of whether they’re working full-time or part-time.

What do I pay my employee?

The subsidy is for paying the employee their ordinary wages, for the time they require off. So, if their ordinary wages are lesser then the subsidy amount, then they are paid their ordinary wages. But if the employees ordinary wages are more than the amount of the subsidy, then the full subsidy is provided to them.

Can my employee use sick leave?

When you apply for the short-term absence payment, you can’t deduct sick leave from your employee. Also, you cannot use this payment to pay employees sick leave.

How do I apply?

Apply for this COVID-19 financial support through the Work and Income website.  

The Government’s Leave Support Scheme is available for employers to pay their employees for those who can’t work under any of the following circumstances:

  • When they’re at higher risk if they get COVID-19, then the Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home, while public health restrictions are in place.
  • In the event that they’ve come into contact with someone who has COVID-19, and so they must self-isolate for 14 days (as required by Ministry of Health guidelines).
  • When they’re tested positive for COVID-19, and therefore are required to remain off work until they’ve been cleared by a health professional, to be released from self-isolation.
  • And also, when they have household members who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19. In this situation, the Ministry of Health recommends the employee remain at home, in order to reduce the risk for their household members.

What payment will I receive?

The Leave Support Scheme will be paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people who were working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate).
  • $350.00 for people who were working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate).

The Leave Support Scheme is paid as a lump sum, and covers 2 weeks per employee, from the date you submit your application.

How do I apply?

You can apply through the Work and Income website.

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