COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension

Available from 10th June 2020.

The original Wage Subsidy has now been extended for a further 8 weeks, provided you meet the criteria of:

  • Must be an eligible employer
  • Business must be in NZ
  • Employees must be legally working in NZ
  • You must have a 40% decline in revenue (initially 50%).  This has now been changed to a 40% drop in revenue for a 30 day continuous period in the 40 days before applying (starting no earlier than 10 May 2020), compared to the closest period last year.
  • You must mitigate the financial impact
  • You must retain the employees you’re applying for AND
    • Try your hardest to pay staff at least 80% of their usual wages;
      • if that isn’t possible, pay at least the rate of the Wage Subsidy Extension that applies to that employee
    • If the amount of the subsidy is more than an employee’s usual wages you must use the surplus to fund other employees wages where possible and, where this is not possible, return any surplus funding to MSD. These obligations will also apply to self-employed workers, ie if you are self-employed and you receive a subsidy that is more than your usual earnings, you will be required to repay the balance to MSD.
    • Continue paying that amount for the duration of the subsidy.
  • If you have given employees notice of redundancy, you won’t be eligible to receive the subsidy for those employees unless you withdraw the redundancy notice.

Additional Wage Subsidy paid as a lump sum covering 8 weeks per employee from the date you submit your application. Rates are the same as the initial Wage Subsidy ($585.50 for people working 20 hours or more, or $350 for people working 20 hours or less per week).

For those with variable hours – use an average to work out what rate to apply for. If worked less than 1 year  – use average hours over an 8 week period or if usual hours are better represented over the whole period of time worked, use that average instead.

The Wage Subsidy Extension must be passed on to the employees that you claim for and your obligations under employment law will continue to apply.

How to apply:

  • Those that have already received the original wage subsidy, should get an email before the current 12 week Wage Subsidy ends. It will let you know when & how to apply for the 8 week COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension – if you still need it to pay yourself or your staff.
  • This email will list the staff you were paid the 12-week COVID-19 subsidy for, and give you details about when you can apply for the Wage Subsidy Extension for them & any other staff.
  • You cannot receive the Wages Subsidy extension until the initial wage Subsidy payments have finished.

For those that haven’t applied for the Wage Subsidy before, you can click on the attached link, and fill out the online form to apply.  All payments will be subject to audits & reviews.

Small Business Loan Scheme – Extended
The Government has announced a six-week extension for the Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme (SBC). Applications opened on 12 May 2020 and can now be submitted up to and including 24 July 2020.

All other conditions remain the same. For details of the loan conditions visit:

IRD have also clarified the position for a group of commonly-owned businesses, and we quote below:
Where a commonly owned group of businesses and organisations collectively have no more than 50 full-time-equivalent employees, each business or organisation will be entitled to apply for a loan based on the number of employees employed by each individual business.

Small Business Loan Scheme – summary:

  • Businesses must have fewer than 50 full-time equivalent employees and be eligible for the Wage Subsidy Scheme
  • Businesses need to have a sound plan to be viable going forward and hold info on file to verify this.
  • Administered by the IRD
  • $10,000 loan + $1,800 per full-time equivalent employee (up to $100,000)
  • Interest @ 3% per annum (Interest not charged if the loan is fully repaid within 1 year)
  • Repayments not compulsory in the first 24 months
  • Maximum of 5 years, and must be repaid by 31 July 2025

Income Relief Payment Programme
Available from 8th June 2020, to support those people who have lost their jobs because of the impacts of COVID-19.  You can get up to 12 weeks of financial support, to help with living costs after sudden job loss, and give you time to find other work.

Who can get it:

  • Lost your job (including self employment) from 1st March 2020 to 30th October 2020, due to COVID-19
  • Normally work 15 hours or more a week (for 12 weeks or more) before you lost your job because of COVID-19
  • Must normally be living in NZ, when you lost your job
  • Must be a NZ Citizen or resident with a residence class visa
  • Must be 18 years or over, or a financially independent 16-17 year old
  • You will not qualify for the Income Relief Payment, if you have a partner earning $2000 or more in wages or salary each week, before tax
  • You MAY be able to get the Income Relief Payment, if you also receive NZ Super – other criteria to be met
  • Students who are studying MAY be eligible for Income Relief Payment, at the same time as receiving Student Loan for living costs.  Other criteria apply, and amount to receive may vary.  See Work & Income website.
  • You cannot get the Income Relief Payment if you get Paid Parental Leave, even if you’ve lost your job.  You can get it up until your Paid Parental Leave starts, or after it stops
  • If you partner gets Paid Parental Leave, you can still get the Income Relief Payment as long as you meet the criteria

Self Employed:

  • If you were self employed, you may be able to get the Income Relief Payment if:
    • your business is no longer viable, with no upcoming work or income, because of COVID-19, AND
    • you meet the criteria for who can get it
  • If you have received, or you are waiting for approval for a loan from the Small Business Cashflow Loan, you are not eligible for the Income Relief Payments.

Who can’t get it:

You will not qualify for the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment if you:

  • get a redundancy payment of $30,000 or more, before tax
  • get or used to get private income protection insurance payments for the job you lost
  • are getting weekly earnings-related compensation from ACC or Veterans’ Affairs
  • left your job for another reason – for example you:
    • resigned
    • retired
    • wound up a viable business, or
    • were dismissed (eg. for misconduct)
  • still have a job
  • You can’t get the Income Relief Payment at the same time as COVID-19 Wage Subsidy or Leave Support payments.

How to apply:

Go to and complete the application form online.

From the team at Miller Johnson