COVID-19 Employer Financial Assistance
Applications for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy and the Resurgence Support Payment scheme are available for businesses and self-employed. Short-Term Absence Payments and the Leave Support Scheme are also available.
Surviving lockdown is hard enough without having to make sense of the differences between all of the payments and schemes. So, to save you time and energy we have summarised differences here.
August 2021 Wage Subsidy
This scheme helps employers pay staff and protect jobs. It’s currently available nationally to businesses who can show or predict at least a 40% drop in revenue between 17 August 2021 and 31 August 2021 because of lockdown. It will also be available for another two weeks after that given the ongoing alert levels.
Eligible employers are entitled to a two week lump sum payment of $600 per week for each of their employees who work 20 hours or more per week, or $359 for employees who work less than that.
Further information on eligibility and other obligations, including when you might have to repay, can be found here.
Short-Term Absence Payment/Leave Support Scheme
These two schemes help employers pay employees in certain situations. The Short-Term Absence payment is available if you have an employee who can’t work from home, but who needs to miss work while waiting for a COVID-19 test result.
The Leave Support Scheme is available if you have an employee who needs to self-isolate and can’t work from home.
Resurgence Support Payment
Businesses, including those who are self-employed, that experience either a 30% drop in revenue or in capital raising ability over any 7 day period as a result of the change in alert level (ie in this case as a result of the increase of alert level to level 4 on 17 August 2021) may be entitled to a one-off payment from IRD for their business expenses. This payment isn’t, therefore, just aimed at staff wages like the other financial assistance packages are (although it can still be used for wages).
Employers who meet the eligibility criteria will receive $1,500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent employee (capped at 50), or four times the actual revenue decline experienced by the employer, whichever is the lesser. Find the criteria here.
Keep in mind
An employee’s consent must be obtained before their employer applies for any of the financial assistance packages that requires the employee’s personal information. We advise this consent is recorded in writing.
Any agreements made with employees, especially around reduction in hours and income, must also be recorded in writing. Remember that the lockdown and any subsidy/payments do not override or affect existing employment obligations. The subsidies/payments are just tools to help employers meet those obligations. The wage subsidy has requirements about your employees’ usual pay.
Employers can only claim one of the above COVID-19 financial assistance payments at one time for each employee.
It’s important to keep records, particularly financial records. Employers may be audited.
Corcoran French continues to operate and provide legal services to you, our clients. We can assist with variations to employee’s terms, vaccination, alert level requirements, and advice on drafting and implementing COVID-19 policies.
For further assistance, please contact Mark Henderson on DDI 371 1021