Wage subsidies are no longer in the mix of COVID-19 business assistance but with omicron now gaining a foothold in New Zealand, we thought it was a good idea to remind readers that there are still some government programmes available. Both the Short-term Absence Payment and the Leave Support Scheme are still in place, along with the Small Business Cash Flow Loan.

The critical thing with both programmes is that workers who are at home either waiting on a test or self-isolating will only qualify if they cannot work from home.

Short Term Absence Payment

The Short-term Absence Payment is a one-off payment available to employers and the self-employed alike. To be eligible, workers need to be unable to work from home and need to wait at home while they are waiting on a test result.

There is a one-off payment of $359 for each eligible employee and you can apply for any worker one in any 30-day period, unless a health official or doctor specifies that that the worker needs another test.

More information is available from Work and Income here.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is available to help pay employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and cannot work from home. It is also available to self-employed people.

The programme gives employers $600 per week for full-time workers and $359 per week for part-time workers.

More information is available from Work and Income here.

Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme (SBCS)

This scheme is designed for the government to give loans to small businesses and sole traders.

If you have already received a SBCS loan and repaid it, you can apply again.

Details of the loans include:

  • $10,000 to be provided to eligible businesses
  • an additional $1800 per equivalent full-time employee
  • interest free if the loan is paid back within two years
  • an interest rate of 3% for a maximum term of five years
  • repayments not required for the first two years
  • you must show at least a 30% drop in revenue due to Covid-19, measured over a 14-day period in the past six months compared with the same 14-day period a year ago. If your revenue from the same period a year ago was also affected by COVID-19, compare the same 14-day period two years ago.
  • the maximum amount you can borrow depends on the number of full-time and part-time employees. The assistance is capped at businesses who employee 50 or fewer full-time employees.

The scheme is administered by Inland Revenue and you can read more about it here. You can apply for this assistance through your MyIR account.

If you need any assistance in applying for government support, please contact your Generate Accounting advisor.