On 17 March the Government announced a NZ$12.1 billion Economic Response Package. This stimulus includes two immediately accessible subsidies for employers, contractors, sole traders or the self-employed – the Wage Subsidy and Leave Payment Scheme. The Wage Subsidy is a one-off lump sum payment to support businesses in keeping people employed for the next 12 weeks. The Leave Payment Scheme provides support for employees that are required to self-isolate in accordance with Ministry of Health guidance.
The purpose of the Wage Subsidy is to support employers who have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue to keep employees on the payroll during this difficult period. The Wage Subsidy is calculated with reference to employees and spans a 12 week period. The subsidy is calculated as $585.80 per employee working more than 20 hours per week and $350.00 per employee working less than 20 hours per week, capped at a maximum of $150,000. However the $150,000 cap has now been removed and all businesses are eligible. The subsidy will be paid as a lump sum covering a 12 week period.
The purpose of the Leave Payment Scheme is to provide payments (via employers) to employees who are required to self-isolate – these payments are required to be passed on in full to the relevant employees (less employment taxes and other deductions). The leave payments are $585.80 to a person working 20 hours or more per week and $350.00 to a person working less than 20 hours per week.