Government tweaks eligibility criteria of new COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment and provides a refresher of other support available to businesses

Government tweaks eligibility criteria of new COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment and provides a refresher of other support available to businesses
Grant Robertson. Getty Images.

The Government is tweaking the eligibility criteria of a new payment for businesses affected by COVID-19.

In December, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said businesses nationwide would be eligible for a Resurgence Support Payment if any part of the country moved to Levels 2, 3 or 4 for seven days or more.

He said they would need to have experienced a 30% drop in revenue over a 14-day period, due to a change in alert levels, to be eligible.

On Tuesday, Robertson said this timeframe is being shortened to seven days.

Qualifying businesses can get $1500 plus $400 per employee up to a total of 50 fulltime equivalents ($21,500).

The Prime Minister will provide an update on Wednesday on whether Auckland’s Level 3 lockdown and the rest of the country’s Level 2 restrictions will be extended.

If restrictions are extended beyond seven days, businesses can include the initial three-day restriction period when figuring out whether they’re eligible.

Robertson said: "We acknowledge the concerns of the business community about Alert Level rises and have made this change as we want to get money out the door quickly to affected businesses.

“This payment recognises that some businesses face one-off costs or impacts to cashflow when we step up an Alert Level to follow public health advice.

“The payment is structured to provide most support to smaller firms who are most likely to face cashflow issues but will be available to all businesses and sole traders.”

Legislation will be introduced to Parliament under urgency on Tuesday to establish the Resurgence Support Payment.

Wage Subsidy 

As interest.co.nz has been reporting, the Wage Subsidy will be available nationwide if any part of the country is in Level 3 or 4 for seven days or more.

The value of the subsidy will remain the same ($585.80 per week for a full-timer and $350 for a part-timer).

But rather than businesses showing a 40% decline in revenue compared to the previous year, they will have to show a 40% decline compared to the six weeks prior to the alert level change.

The support will be provided in two-weekly payments and total support will match the duration at Alert Level 3 or 4 rounded to the nearest fortnight.

Around $14 billion has been paid in Wage Subsidies to support 1.8 million jobs to date.

Short-Term Absence Payment 

There is also a new Short-Term Absence Payment available.

The employer of anyone who needs to stay home while awaiting a COVID-19 test result (or needs to stay home while a dependent awaits a result) can receive $350. Information is available here.

Leave Support Scheme  

The employer of anyone who needs to self-isolate because of COVID-19 can receive a one-off payment of $585.80 if the employee works fulltime, or $350 if they work 20 hours or less per week. Information is available here.

Loan schemes

80% government-backed bank loans are also available to businesses via the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme.

Meanwhile fully government-backed loans, administered by the Inland Revenue, are available to businesses via the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme.

The criteria of these schemes have been broadened a number of times, so businesses that weren’t eligible when they were launched may be eligible now.

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14 Comments

"This payment recognises that some businesses face one-off costs or impacts to cashflow when we step up an Alert Level to follow public health advice."

...except if it doesn't last for more than seven days. But by then you've dumped perishable stock, cancelled appointments, thrown away perishables and face doing it all in reverse when things change three days later.

If employees are ready and able to work their hours, and they can't work, the law is clear. You have to pay them. You don't get a week's grace before employment law kicks in.

Yep and as if they hadn’t had enough all the small businesses suffer again because we keep letting infected people and their partners/family in

If employees are ready and able to work their hours, and they can't work, the law is clear. You have to pay them. You don't get a week's grace before employment law kicks in.

You have to give 'reasonable notice'. This means that likely after 48 hours, you don't have to pay them for missed shifts, so long as you gave them notice and the reason why the business was shut.

Suggest you read up on current employment law. If the employee ( a permanent one) is available for work but the business effectively locks them out, the employer is liable for lost wages. You can compel them to take annual leave (as long as it's in their EC). There is no "reasonable notice" dispensation

Isn't there some sort of agreement between major political parties on debt levels, and, are we anywhere close to that level yet? It seems like there is a lot being thrown into temporary patches like subsidy schemes for businesses but I haven't yet heard the longer term economic support plans (e.g. infrastructure, green energy projects etc.)

Isn't there some sort of agreement between major political parties on debt levels

You must be joking.

Difficult for the Government.
By far, most businesses are honest, but far too many are not. There's 'free money' available here, and it's going to be taken.
My wife has had two calls over the last several months from Government Departments, wanting to confirm that she works at XYZ and ABC Companies, just for compliance purposes. She works at neither, although a year ago she did for one.

Judging by the supermarket I just visited now, there will be more lockdowns. Only 50% of staff wearing masks, and customers. One idiot sneezing all over the place, not sure if it was a 'joke' or for real. I suspect the former (rough, stoned looking dude playing a beat box...)

I live in orks. My experience would be virtually no one is wearing a mask. People are over the lock downs, me included. I got home last night and there were 20 local kids playing together in the reserve across the road. Zero new cases today would lead me to believe these knee jerk reactions are unfounded.

Sluggy

I'm in Auckland also

Sounds like people are science advocates AKA non mask wearers. I myself follow the science that masks are not effective..

Probably Billy Te Kahika.

New Zealand will soon be a land of houses. https://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/new-zealand-population

The Fat Controller eagerly mounts the podium to announce Covid subsidies. Meanwhile housing bubbles away and RE investors have thier wicked way as he deflects and delays announcing anti housing inflation policies. While our housing is manifestly super-sensitive to low interest rates.. Trying to delay the end of the business cycle while destroying kiwi living standards.

Akh, bit shy to do as 2020 rush, but bottom line is the formulae is in hands - 'unlimited' subsidy by CB & govt tandem action, 'maintain the trajectory up' of economic parameters, albeit at the cost of near future confidence.