Financial support for businesses impacted by COVID-19

Am I eligible for the Wage Subsidy or other COVID-19 Government support?

You may be eligible for COVID-19 financial support, if your business has been affected by Alert Level changes.

Do you need help accessing these benefits? Or have you got questions around COVID-19 financial support? Ask us first, via 0800 472 472 (1800 128 086 from Australia) or email [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. The wages subsidy is available when any part of New Zealand is at Alert Levels 3 and/or 4 for a period of seven days.

To qualify, you need to experience or anticipate a 40% decline in revenue. The dates to determine eligibility are yet to be released. We understand this 40% threshold applies to your whole business, not to individual stores.

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

  • $600 a week for each full-time employee retained (20 hours a week or more).
  • $359 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.

Be aware that MSD requires you to have considered alternatives to the Wage Subsidy and that you keep a record of what you have done. We have prepared a handy template that you may wish to use for this purpose.

When applying for the Wage Subsidy you must keep a record of your decision making in regards to reasonable steps taken to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on your business. You could be asked by MSD to provide this information at a future date.

You can apply for the extended Wage Subsidy from 9am on Friday 3rdSeptember 2021 for two weeks on the Work and Income website. You be able to apply for the extended wage subsidy two weeks following your application for the initial wage subsidy (applications opened 20thAugust). You may also be eligible for the Resurgence Support Payment (see below).

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is for organisations with reduced revenue due to COVID Alert Levels increasing to Alert Level 2 or higher.

Applications for a second round of the Resurgence Support Payment will be open on Friday 17 September. If you have applied for the Resurgence Support Payment already, you may be eligible for the second round if you continue to meet the eligibility criteria.

The Government decides when the RSP is activated, usually when the increase in alert level is for seven days or longer. When the RSP is activated it applies nationally, even if the alert level is not increased across the country.

What payment will I receive?

From 12 November 2021, payments will be made fortnightly. You can receive the lesser of:

  • $3,000 plus $800 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.

Receiving any other Government COVID-19 support does not affect eligibility for the RSP. 

How do I apply?

Apply for this COVID business support through myIR on the IRD website.

The Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme is available to eligible small business with 50 or fewer full-time-equivalent employees (FTEs). The loan amount is $10,000 per firm, plus $1,800 per FTE up to a maximum of $100,000.

Applications are open until the end of 2023. If you have applied for the loan and paid this off, you can re-apply for another loan before the end of 2023.

Use of the loan:

The loan must be used to pay for core operating costs of your business. This may include (but isn’t limited to):

  • rent
  • insurance
  • utilities
  • supplier payments
  • rates.

Repaying the loan:

You will have 5 years (60 months) to pay off the loan. 

Loans will be subject to an annual interest rate of 3% from the date the loan is made available to you. During the loan period, the following general rules apply.

  • If you fully repay the loan within 2 years, you will not be charged any interest.
  • If you do not fully repay the loan within 2 years, you will be charged interest for the entire term of the loan.
  • Repayments are not compulsory in the first 24 months.
  • Voluntary payments can still be made at any time.
  • After 24 months, you’ll be required to make regular payments for both the principal and interest.


  • Your business has 50 or fewer FTE.
  • You have been in business for six months.
  • You have experienced a 30% decline in revenue measured over a 14-day period in the 6 months before applying, compared with the same 14-day period one year ago. If the revenue from the same period 1 year ago was affected by COVID-19 as well, compare with the same 14-day period two years ago.
  • Your business remains viable.

Calculating your FTE:

  • An employee working 20 hours or more per week is considered full-time, and counts as 1 FTE.
  • An employee working up to 20 hours per week is considered part-time, and counts as 0.6 FTEs.

How do I apply?

Apply for the Small Business Cashflow (Loan) Scheme here.

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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