COVID-19 wage subsidy receives more than 27,000 applications in less than five days

The Ministry of Social Development has received more than 27,000 applications for the COVID-19 wage subsidy, which was announced by the Government on Tuesday.

The $12 billion economic support package includes $5.1 billion towards wage subsidies for businesses affected by COVID-19 coronavirus.

Businesses are eligible if they can show a 30 percent decline in revenue for any month between January and June 2020 compared to the year before.

This money has been made available immediately, and already businesses are asking for help.

Employment expert Max Whitehead says people are already struggling.

"Self-employed contractors are really struggling at the moment to understand what they are entitled to, what their future holds and where they can turn to for help.

"A lot of employees are terrified, are they going to have money? A lot of them assume they're not, but 16,000... employers have made the first approach seeking funding."

Whitehead is encouraging those in doubt to seek employment advice for their bosses.

"We're a nation of contractors, we're a nation of small employers. 97 percent of all enterprises in New Zealand have less than 20 staff and those are the people that are going to be hit hardest."

The ministry says it has also had 1300 applications for the COVID-19 leave payment, which covers people who are sick or caring for others who are.