18 August 2021

COVID-19 Income Support Mechanisms: Wage Subsidy Scheme Available Again

At 11.59pm on Tuesday 17 August 2021, all of New Zealand was placed into Alert Level 4 Lockdown following the discovery of a community case of the delta variant of COVID-19.  Counting out from 17 August 2021 New Zealand will be in Level 4 for three days, except for Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula, which are expected to be in Level 4 for seven days.


Wage Subsidy


The Government has announced that the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme (Wage Subsidy) will again be available for businesses.  The key details are as follows:


  • Applications open at 9am on Friday, 20 August 2021 for two weeks;
  • It is expected that payments will be received within three days of applying;
  • Businesses must expect a loss of at least 40% of revenue as a result of the move to Level 4;
  • Businesses will be eligible to get:
    • $600 per week per full-time equivalent employee; and
    • $359 per week per part-time employee;
  • The Wage Subsidy will be paid in a two-week lump sum; and
  • Businesses can apply for the Wage Subsidy at the Work and Income New Zealand website.


In March 2021 when the Wage Subsidy was last available this was measured over a 14-day period during the increased alert level when compared with a typical 14-day period prior to the increase in alert level.  The calculation period for the August 2021 lockdown has not yet been clarified by the Government.


Resurgence Support Payment


The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) will also be available for businesses if they incur a loss of 30% of revenue over a 7-day period as a result of the move to Level 4.  The 7-day period starts from the day of the alert level increase.  If the increased alert level lasts for more than 7 days, businesses can choose a different start date for the 7-day period, however the total 7-day period must be during the increased alert level.


Under this scheme eligible businesses can get to $1,500, plus an extra $400 per full-time employee, up to a maximum of 50 full-time employees.


This is different from the Wage Subsidy Scheme as it does not have to be used for employee wages/salary.  Businesses are able to access both the RSP and the Wage Subsidy together.  Businesses can apply for the RSP on the Inland Revenue website.  Applications for the RSP will likely open early next week.


Leave Support Scheme


The Leave Support Scheme is also available to cover periods of leave for employees who:


  • Have COVID-19 and must self-isolate;
  • Are a close contact of a person who has been directed to self-isolate; or
  • Are a parent/caregiver or dependent of a person who has been directed to self-isolate.


Employers can apply for lump sum payments of $585.80 a week for full-time employees and $350 a week for part-time employees.  The Scheme covers two weeks per eligible employee and employers can apply for the scheme at the Work and Income New Zealand website.


Short Term Absence Payment


The Short Term Absence Payment is also available for businesses to help them keep paying employees who must self-isolate while awaiting COVID-19 test results and cannot work from home.  Businesses can receive $350 per eligible employee.  Businesses can only apply for this payment once in every 30-day period for each eligible employee.


It is important to note that businesses cannot receive more than one COVID-19 support payment for the same employee at the same time.


Please note that while the country is in lockdown, Saunders & Co Lawyers are still available by phone and email to provide legal advice and guidance.  


For more information and specific legal advice on your employment relations and health and safety obligations please contact us at the below details:


Andrew Riches (Partner)


Mobile: 021 982 115


Claire McCool (Senior Associate)


Mobile: 021 885 086


Deborah Hendry (Lawyer)


Mobile: 022 153 0220


For more information on Covid-19 and its status, check the following websites: