Being back in lockdown feels eerily familiar, and even though we haven’t seen the stock market crash or mass unemployment, financial assistance is still needed by many across the country.
And to reflect increased wage costs, Inland Revenue has increased its relief payments.
So, what’s on offer in our current 2021 lockdown?
Support for businesses
Whether you’re running a business, are an employer or a self-employed worker, you could be eligible for support.
The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is for businesses with workers who:
· Need to miss work to stay at home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result.
· And those who cannot work from home.
The payment provides a one-off payment (once per 30 days) and as of August 24, 2021, the rate increases from $350 to $359.
The Leave Support Scheme is also available for those who have been told to self-isolate and/or cannot work from home.
This payment provides a two-week lump sum payment per week of $600 (an increase from the previous $585.80) for full-time workers or $359 (up from $350) per week for part-time workers who must self-isolate and cannot work from home. The increase in these payments kicks in on August 24.
The Wage Subsidy is available when there is a rise to Alert Levels 3 or 4 for more than 7 days, for those businesses who have seen a decline in revenue due to restrictions.
“To reflect increased wage costs, the payments have been increased to $600 for full-time employees and to $359 for part-time employees,” the IRD said.
If you’re eligible, there is:
Businesses are also eligible for a one-off Resurgence Support Payment if the rise in lockdown levels lasts for more than 7 consecutive days.
“This payment will be available to any business or organisation in New Zealand that experiences at least a 30% drop in revenue or a 30% decline in capital-raising ability over a seven-day period, due to a COVID-19 alert level increase of Level 2 or higher.
“This will be open to applications from 8am on Tuesday 24 August, 2021 and will be available until one month after a nationwide return to Alert Level 1,” IRD said.
The Small Business Cashflow Scheme supports small to medium-sized businesses and organisations struggling with a loss of actual revenue due to COVID-19.
“Applications are open until 31 December 2023,” the IRD says.
In certain circumstances KiwiSaver contributions may be suspended for employees receiving the wage subsidy.
To do this, the employee must request a savings suspension from Inland Revenue and the IRD will notify the employer.
The requirements are:
· You have been contributing to your KiwiSaver for the past 12 months, unless in financial hardship.
· The savings suspension must be for a minimum of three months and maximum of one year.
Support From Your Bank
“We’ve had a small increase in hardship applications from households so far,” Westpac NZ Acting CEO Simon Power says.
“I encourage any small business out there that’s having cashflow problems to get in touch with the bank.
“There are three primary tools available:
· Suspension to principal loan payments for up to three months;
· Temporary overdraft facilities;
· Deferred payments for up to three months on business credit cards if eligible.
“I encourage customers to have a conversation with us,” he said.
For personalised advice on your financial situation during lockdown, contact your bank and IRD as soon as possible.