Another round of wage subsidy, financial support for businesses

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Staff Reporter
Wellington, September 13, 2021

The decision of the government to keep Auckland at a higher Covid-19 Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications from 9 am on Friday, September 17, 2021.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Grant Robertson said that the revenue test period for this payment will be the September 14 to September 27, 2021.

“A reminder that this is available for those in Auckland, but also those around the country who can establish that their revenue loss is a result of Alert Level 3 or 4 in Auckland,” he said.

Friday is also when eligible businesses can apply for another Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) to help them pay their rent and other fixed costs. This is available to all businesses that can show a 30% drop in revenue while anywhere in the country is at Alert Level 2.

Resurgence Support Payment

“The RSP was originally intended to be a one-off payment, but after consultation with our business community, we have agreed to make it a three-weekly payment – in recognition of the challenges businesses are facing. I know that it is tough to go through a second Alert Level 4 lockdown in New Zealand when we have been enjoying a restriction-free lifestyle for so much longer than our international counterparts,” he said.

Mr Robertson said that it is partly for that reason that we are actually providing more support to businesses in this current lockdown than we did when we last had level 4 restrictions.

“Over a month in alert level 4 last year, an eligible business with 10 employees would have received about $23,000 in support, whereas this outbreak it will be about $35,000 for the same sized firm. So far, this outbreak the Government has paid out almost $1.8 billion in wage subsidies and $531 million in Resurgence Support Payments.

Economy in pre-Covid

“The economy is operating above pre-Covid levels thanks to our strong public health response. These principles will continue to guide our approach to supporting the economy, businesses and workers at this challenging time,” Mr Robertson said.

Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni said that the Ministry is doing

a great job of administering the wage subsidy and have approved over 427,000 applications from employees and sole traders.

“Ninety-one percent of approved applications are paid within three working days. The applications taking longer are largely sole traders. The reason for this is mostly due to data in the application not matching with data held by Inland Revenue. MSD is working with applicants and Inland Revenue on resolving these as quickly as possible. This includes calling an average of 7,000 applicants a day to check information and working with them to make the changes needed to get their application processed,” she said.

Ms Sepuloni said that more than 25,000 delayed applications for the initial wage subsidy have been processed over the past week.

“It is really important that businesses make sure the details they provide MSD match the details held on their business by Inland Revenue. This small check will mean they receive support as quickly as possible,” Carmel Sepuloni said.

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