COVID-19 wage subsidy applications open from March 4, payments going out from March 8

COVID-19 wage subsidy applications open from March 4, payments going out from March 8
Photo credit: Getty

Finance Minister Grant Robertson's office has confirmed applications are open for the wage subsidy from Thursday, March 4, with payments going out from Monday, March 8. 

The wage subsidy scheme is available nationally when there's a regional or national move to alert levels 3 or 4, for a period of seven days. The subsidy has so far paid out more than $14 billion. 

Auckland was thrust back into alert level 3 on Sunday for a period of seven days, meaning Kiwi businesses will be eligible for the subsidy. But Work and Income's website currently says the subsidy is unavailable.

Robertson's office confirmed to Newshub on Wednesday that businesses will be able to apply for it from 1pm on Thursday and payments will be made from Monday. 

The rate is $585.80 for full-time workers and $350 for part-time workers. Support will be provided in two-weekly payments and total support will match the duration at alert level 3, rounded to the nearest fortnight.

To qualify, businesses must show a 40 percent decline in revenue compared to typical fortnightly revenue, in the six weeks prior to the alert level increase that happened on February 14, the first time Auckland went into lockdown this year on Valentine's Day.

Businesses expressed concern when the latest lockdown hit, that the wage subsidy won't get to workers fast enough. By Sunday morning, Māngere Budgeting Services already had 30 applications for food parcels.

Several people have reached out to Newshub asking for information on when the subsidy will be available, including an accountant who found it "quite frustrating" not knowing when she was trying to help her clients. 

COVID-19 resurgence payment

Employers can also apply for the resurgence support payment. Businesses that experience a 30 percent drop in revenue over seven days get $1500 and $400 per worker up to a total of 50 full-time employees. That is a maximum payment of $21,500.

Similar to the wage subsidy, the 30 percent drop in revenue must be compared with a typical similar revenue period in the six weeks prior to the alert level rise. The six week comparison will be taken as before February 14.

If it is a seasonal business applying, they must show a 30 percent revenue drop compared with a similar week the previous year.

Businesses can apply for the payment by logging into their MyIR account. Further information can be found on the Inland Revenue website.

There's also the short-term absence payment, which provides financial support for businesses with workers who need to stay at home while awaiting a COVID-19 test result. It's a one-off payment of $350 to employers.

The COVID-19 leave support scheme is also available to help employers with the cost of staff instructed to self-isolate at home for two weeks. It pays out $1171.60 for full-time workers and $700 for part-time workers, as a one lump sum to cover the two-weeks.