While we have enjoyed relative freedom in New Zealand, the Government has continued to work on Covid-19 support packages.
The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme allows those who have been told to self-isolate, to receive two weeks income if they are unable to work from home. In addition to this scheme, from mid-February 2021 a Short-Term Absence Payment will be available for those who need to stay at home while awaiting a COVID-19 test result.
The Business Finance Guarantee scheme can be applied for until 30 June 2021 and allows small and medium sized businesses access to up to $5 million to support operating cash flow and asset purchases, as well as helping respond or recover from COVID-19. This scheme is supported by the Government so if the business defaults on the debt the lender can claim 80% of the defaulted debt from the Government.
Applications remain open until the end of 2023 for the Small Business Cash flow Loan Scheme, which allows organisations that employ 50 or fewer employees that have been adversely affected by COVID-19, access to a one-off 5-year loan. Organisations can draw down up to $10,000, plus an additional $1,800 per employee. No repayments are required for the first two years, however, following this the interest rate increases from 0% to 3%.
Until April 2022, the Apprenticeship Boost Initiative will be available to support employers of first and second year apprentices. The amount of funding received a month depends on when an apprentice started their training. Employers can use the funding to top up apprentices’ wages to at least the minimum wage.
The various wage subsidy schemes can no longer be applied for. These are only put in place if the Alert Level increases to Level 3 or 4 for 7 days or more, so hopefully we don’t see these again.