COVID-19: Financial support for businesses

A summary of the financial support available to help you, your business and employees through the response to COVID-19.

There are a few COVID-19 financial support schemes available to businesses, depending on your situation. Learn more about each type of support and where you can find more information.

Overview of support available at different alert levels

All of these COVID-19 support initiatives have eligibility requirements that must be met.  See below for details.

The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is not automatically activated each time the COVID alert level rises from level 1. Generally, the Government will make a decision about activating the RSP if the alert level is raised for at least 7 days.

Resurgence Support Payment

A Resurgence Support Payment may be activated if the alert level increases from Level 1 for a week or more. Businesses and organisations will be eligible if they experience a 30% drop in revenue over a seven day period after an alert level increase and meet other eligibility criteria. This drop is compared to a typical seven-day period in the six weeks before the increase in alert level. Seasonal businesses should show a 30% revenue drop compared with a similar week the previous year.

This payment is not a loan, so does not need to be repaid. The payment must be used to help cover business expenses such as wages and fixed costs. Applications will remain open for 1 month after the return to Alert Level.

Resurgence Support Payment Revenue calculator [Download, XLSX, 22 KB]

Application dates

  • Applications will open on 8 March 2021, for eligible businesses that have been impacted by the alert level changes that started on 28 February 2021.
  • Eligible businesses that were affected by the previous change in alert levels, from 14 to 21 February 2021, have until 22 March 2021 to apply.
  • Eligible businesses that have been affected by both alert level changes can apply for each round of payments.

How to apply

You can apply through myIR. If your businesses doesn’t have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.

More information, including how to apply and how to calculate your drop in revenue — Inland Revenue

myIR — Inland Revenue

Register a myIR account for a business or organisation — Inland Revenue

Wage Subsidy Scheme

Applications for the Wage Subsidy Scheme open at 1pm on Thursday 4 March 2021, on the Work and Income website. Payments will start from Monday 8 March 2021.

The Wage Subsidy Scheme will be available to businesses throughout New Zealand.

Businesses and the self-employed will be eligible if they experience a 40% drop in revenue over a consecutive 14-day period between 28 February 2021 and 21 March 2021, compared to a typical 14-day period between 4 January 2021 and 14 February 2021.

You need to be able to show that the revenue drop is due to the change in alert level, not just COVID-19 in general.

Register your interest or apply — Work and Income

Wage Subsidy Scheme revenue calculator [Download, XLSX, 22 KB]

Short-Term Absence Payment

A COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available at all Alert Levels to employers to pay workers who follow public health guidance and are staying home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. It’s also available to eligible self-employed workers. To be eligible, workers need to be unable to work from home and need to miss work while waiting for the test results.

The payment is $350 for each worker. Employers or the self-employed can apply for any worker once in any 30-day period.

More information and how to apply – Work and Income

Leave Support Scheme

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme provides a payment to businesses to pay their workers who meet certain health criteria, eg they have COVID-19. This is also available if you’re self-employed.

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).

Under changes to this scheme in 2020, businesses are no longer be required to show an actual or predicted revenue drop or that their ability to support an employee was negatively impacted by COVID-19, to be eligible to access the payment.

Leave Support Scheme — Work and Income

How to apply for the Leave Support Scheme – Work and Income

Small business cash flow loan scheme (SBCS)

Government will provide loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs. Applications have been extended and are now open until 31 December 2023. You can apply through myIR.

The small business cash flow loan scheme will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to businesses employing 50 or fewer full-time employees. This includes sole traders and self-employed businesses.

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 6 months
  • maximum amount you can borrow depends on the number of full-time and part-time employees.

Use the small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool and find out how to apply.

COVID-19: Small business cash flow loan scheme eligibility tool

Applications are open until and including 31 December 2023 through myIR. Go to the ‘I want to’ section, and select ‘Apply for the small business loan’.

myIR — Inland Revenue

If your businesses doesn’t have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.

Register a myIR account for a business or organisation — Inland Revenue

Most applicants will receive their loan payment in full from Inland Revenue within five working days. You don’t have to accept the full loan amount you’re offered, and can decide to take a smaller loan.

Tax and ACC support

If you’re having difficulties meeting your tax obligations due to COVID-19, Inland Revenue has various support schemes and options to help.

COVID-19 business and organisations — Inland Revenue

ACC levy invoices for the 20/21 financial year would usually have been sent from 1 July, but will now be sent in October. ACC has more information about delayed invoices and guidance to help.

Easing the COVID-19 burden on businesses — ACC

If you are having trouble making ACC payments, ACC has guidance to help. If you are no longer in business, it’s also a good idea to let ACC know.

General COVID-19 information for businesses — ACC

Business debt hibernation

Business debt hibernation is a government initiative created in response to COVID-19. It helps companies, trusts, and other business entities affected by COVID-19 to manage their debts. Applications are open until 31 October 2021.

If business debt hibernation is right for your business, this is how it helps you manage your debts.

  • You set up an arrangement for your existing debts, eg paying your creditors only a percentage of what you owe them on time and delaying the rest.
  • You get up to a month of protection while you set up the arrangement, meaning most creditors can’t enforce their debts, eg applying for your business to be liquidated.
  • If your creditors agree, you get a further six months of protection.

Use the business debt hibernation decision tool to find out if it’s a good option for your business and if so, how to get started.

COVID-19: Business debt hibernation

Business finance guarantee scheme

More small and medium-sized businesses may be eligible for the Business Finance Guarantee scheme, with a simplified and expanded scheme now in place.

Participating lenders can provide new loans, increased limits to existing loans or a revolving credit facility to eligible businesses. The scheme supports lenders by government taking on the default risk of up to 80% of the loan.

Changes to the scheme mean the loans can be used for capital purchases and projects relating to, responding to or recovering from the impacts of COVID-19. This means businesses can use the credit, for example, to modify their premises to operate at different alert levels or meet changing demands. Banks can lend to businesses with an annual revenue of up to $200m, while loans are available from non-bank lenders for businesses with annual revenue up to $50m. There is a lending limit of $5m, or $3m from a non-bank.

The Crown has also clarified that it will guarantee its share of a scheme loan without a personal guarantee – though lenders make their own lending decisions and may have their own requirements. Borrowers are still liable to pay the loan back in the usual way.

Business Finance Guarantee scheme — Treasury

Financial support tool

The financial support tool from Unite for the recovery can help you find out what financial help may be available to you.

The tool will take you through a series of questions about to find out more about your personal situation including:

  • your work status
  • your situation
  • whether your workplace has reduced business.

Financial support tool —

COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme

The COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme has been established to support travel agents and wholesalers while they recover refunds and credits owed to New Zealanders travelling overseas.

Participating travel agencies and wholesalers will be reimbursed for:

  • 7.5% of the value of cash refunds, and
  • 5% of the value of credits successfully secured on behalf of customers.

Reimbursement is available for refunds and credits processed from 14 August 2020, for bookings confirmed on or before 14 August 2020.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment has more information on who is eligible and how to apply.

COVID-19 Consumer Travel Reimbursement Scheme — Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment

Resurgence Wage Subsidy has closed

The Resurgence Wage Subsidy Scheme was available from 1pm 21 August 2020 and closed at 11:59pm on 3 September 2020. This supported employers, the self-employed and sole traders, who were further impacted by COVID-19 due to the increased Alert Levels.

The Resurgence Scheme provided a two-week subsidy to eligible businesses, self-employed and contractors. Businesses must have experienced an actual or predicted 40% revenue drop for any consecutive period of at least 14 days within the period of 12 August to 10 September compared to a similar period last year.

Resurgence Wage Subsidy — Work and Income

Wage Subsidy Extension has closed

The Wage Subsidy Extension finished on 1 September 2020. The Wage Subsidy Extension payment was available for 8 weeks, to support employers, including sole traders, who were significantly impacted by COVID-19 after the initial Wage Subsidy ended. Businesses had to have experienced a minimum of 40% decline in revenue over a 30-day period within 40 days prior to applying for the extension, compared to the closest period last year.

Work and Income has more information and help on Wage Subsidy Extension applications.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension — Work and Income

Visit Employment NZ for information on obligations for paying your staff and tax treatment.

Wage subsidies and pay — Employment NZ

Income Relief Payment has closed

The COVID-19 Income Relief Payment was available if you lost your job (including if you are self-employed) from 1 March 2020 to 30 October 2020 due to COVID-19. The scheme ended on 13 November 2020. If you are receiving the Income Relief Payment, you will continue to receive payments until 4 February 2021.

COVID-19 Income relief payment — Work and Income