8 March 2021: After another lockdown and more challenges for businesses and as we move back down the alert levels across the country, it’s time to check if you are eligible for government support. A number of initiatives have opened up due to the latest changes in alert levels. Make sure you don’t miss the opportunity to apply for any of the following that are relevant to your business:
- Resurgence Support Payment
- Wage Subsidy
- Leave Support Scheme
- Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP)
- Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme
- Business Finance Guarantee
- Business Debt Hibernation
- Xero Assistance Programme (XAP)
What is available at different levels?
Business.govt.nz produced this handy reference guide showing the support available at the various alert levels:
All of these COVID-19 support initiatives have eligibility requirements that must be met.
Resurgence Support Payment
The RSP helps to support viable and ongoing businesses due to an alert level increase to level 2 or higher, that can provide evidence of a 30% drop in revenue, or more, compared with a typical seven day revenue period in the six weeks prior to the increase – as well as meet a range of other eligibility criteria.
Eligible businesses will receive the lesser of:
- $1,500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee, up to a maximum of 50 FTEs
- four times (4x) the actual revenue drop experienced by the applicant.
Due to the recent alert level changes the RSP was activated.
- Apply from now until 22 March if you were affected by the 14 February alert level increase.
- Apply from 8 March if you were affsected by the 28 February alert level increase.
Wage Subsidy Scheme
The Wage Subsidy Scheme is made available nationwide if any part of the country moves to alert level 3 or above, for seven days or more. This means that this benefit was made available following the 28th February alert level increase.
If your business (or you if you are self-employed) experienced a 40% drop in predicted or actual revenue over a consecutive 14-day period, compared to a typical fortnightly revenue in the six weeks before the rise in alert level, due to the changes in alert level, then you are eligible.
Applications for the Wage Subsidy March 2021 opened on 4 March 2021, and payments start from Monday 8 March 2021.
Leave Support Scheme
If you, or your staff have been told by a health official to self-isolate and cannot work from home, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme. This support will be paid as a lump sum covering two weeks (you can reapply if required). This support is also available for self-employed.
Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP)
The Short-Term Absence Payment of $350 for each worker, is available for employers to pay workers who need to stay at home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result. It’s also available to self-employed workers. Workers need to be unable to work from home while waiting for test results.
Small Business Cashflow Loans Scheme
At the end of 2020 the government announced an extension to the Small Business Cashflow Loans Scheme to recognise that the need for loans relating to COVID-19 extended past the original few months. There are three key changes:
- No interest will be charged if the loan is repaid in full in 2 years.
- The restrictions on how the loan can be used have been eased.
- The closing date for applications is now December 2023.
Business Loans Guarantee Scheme
The Business Loans Guarantee Scheme allows small and medium businesses to apply for loans by the government guaranteeing 80% of the loan’s default risk. The loan needs to be used for cashflow, capital assets and projects related to, responding to, or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. You can apply for Business Finance Guarantee loans until 30 June 2021.
Business Debt Hibernation
Business debt hibernation helps businesses affected by COVID-19 to manage their debts until they start trading normally. Debts still need to be paid off in full. Applications close 31 October 2021.
Xero Assistance Programme
If you, or your team, need mental wellbeing support, Xero have the Xero Assistance Programme (XAP). It’s available for all Xero customers on Starter, Standard and Premium plans and it provides access to free and confidential counselling support and resources for you, your team and your families.
We can help too
For more information about the above government support refer to this overview of support available from business.govt.nz.
We can apply for many of these schemes on your behalf. If we can help with any further questions, applications or advice please contact us.