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Govt to provide Wage Subsidy and new payment to businesses in event of a move up alert levels; It will also pay businesses whose staff need to stay home while they await a Covid test result

Govt to provide Wage Subsidy and new payment to businesses in event of a move up alert levels; It will also pay businesses whose staff need to stay home while they await a Covid test result

The Wage Subsidy, as well as a new one-off payment, will be made available to eligible businesses if New Zealand has to move up Covid-19 alert levels.

The Government will from next year also start paying businesses $350 per employee who needs to stay home while they await a Covid-19 test result. 

Finance Minister Grant Robertson made the announcement as Minister for Covid-19 Response Chris Hipkins outlined what would happen over summer if Covid-19 is found in the community.

  • Wage Subsidy

In the event of a move to Levels 3 or 4 for seven days or more, the Wage Subsidy will be available for the duration of the lockdown.

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’ll have to show a 40% decline compared to the six weeks prior to the alert level change.

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.

  • Resurgence Support Payment

In the event of a move to Levels 2, 3 or 4 for seven days or more, a new one-off Resurgence Support Payment.

Businesses that incur a revenue drop of 30% or more over a 14-day period, due to a change in alert levels, will be able to receive up to $21,500 depending on how many employees they have.

Businesses will get $1500 plus $400 for every full-time employee up to 50 employees.

  • Short-term Absence Payment

The second new offering is a Short-term Absence Payment of $350 available to firms if their workers need to stay home while awaiting a Covid-19 test result.

It is also available to eligible self-employed workers, and to parents or caregivers of dependents who are required to stay at home awaiting a test result where they need support to do so.

The payment will be available from early 2021.

If a worker needs to self-isolate following a positive test result, they then may also be eligible for the existing two week Leave Support Scheme.

For more on all three of these schemes, see this government fact sheet

Summer holiday message: Prepare for plans to change

Turning now to what would happen if Covid-19 was found in the community over the summer holidays, Hipkins warned people might be asked to stay put regardless of where they are.

If Covid-19 is found within a campsite or festival, people in that area would need to stay where they are, in their bubble, initially until the situation is assessed.

Thereafter, in a worst-case scenario, if it became clear there was a high risk of widespread transmission, people would likely be asked to return home.

Consideration would be given to moving New Zealand (or large parts of it) to Level 3 and requiring people to go home, and not travel once home, to limit the risk of transmission.

All this said, Hipkins noted the specific response to an outbreak would depend on the situation and public health advice.

He asked people to make individual plans around what they would do if they have to stay put at their holiday destination or quickly return home.

He suggested ensuring people have access to extra supplies, like face coverings, soap, hand sanitiser, food and medication was important.

Furthermore, the basics are essential - using the Covid-19 tracer app and activating the Bluetooth function, hand-washing, and staying home when even a little bit sick and seeking advice on whether a Covid-19 test is necessary.

Here's a government infographic on what would happen during three scenarios:

For more information see this government fact sheet

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17 Comments

There is no reason that the house price and rents would not increase given people could get paid without work, and could get paid more in April 2021 without any actual increase in productivity.

Its getting to the point where the dollar is no longer a reliable metric for measuring value.

So we should gear up for level 3 & 4 lockdowns next year. An early sneak peek into what the Australian bubble will bring...

Ha. We're waiting on you over here buddy.

Don't blame it on Australia when we both know the NZ Govt has the capacity and to stuff it up all by themselves.

I guess this time they're atleast preparing for when they stuff it up. I'm sure Jacindas spin doctors are also writing a few catchy phrases she can use to consolidate the team of 5 million when it happens.

No. Vaccinate the oldies.

Stand by for an other surge in company and gst registrations.

I presume that this is to be seen in a positive light.

Are we meant to be looking forward to a Covid outbreak?

Guaranteed income basically saying. Print print print no fear people...

Why the cynicism?
This is a good thing, surely. It gives businesses some confidence as to what will happen if there are further lockdowns

Probably because it's Labour???

I get that, but he's not wrong, this is them doing their homework and they should get credit for doing so. I'd expect any government to signpost lockdown measures and relief in advance of the country's annual seasonal diaspora. Gotta take the good with the bad.

a pandemic is the same as any natural disaster.

people and businesses should provision for uncertainty, not expect the Government to step in anytime storm clouds come across the horizon.

There is 'uncertainty' and then there is 'uninsurable total closure of entire economy due to a never-before-seen lockdown mandated by the actual Govt itself at short notice'.

Why the cynicism?
Because the unprecedented expansion of government debt is almost all unproductive. None of it will generate revenue in the future.
Because the debt is paying for the governments response to a perceived threat which has been hyped up by MSM and the government itself.
Because once the economy, businesses, and individuals become dependent on free money, it will be impossible to unwind.
Because the government is far more powerful now than it was before, and that power and control is unlikely to be relinquished easily.

So when are they going to raise taxes to hoover up all of this 'excess' cash slopping around in the economy.

bet they'll find a reason to reinstate them regardless if we have any kind of insolvency crisis.