Financial support for employees

Information on the wage subsidy scheme and COVID-19 leave support scheme for employees.

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How to continue to receive an income

The Wage Subsidy scheme:

  • supports employers adversely affected by COVID-19, so that they can continue to pay their employees, and
  • supports employees to ensure they continue to receive an income, even if they can’t work.

Employees cannot apply directly for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy. However, your employer may be able to apply to help cover your wages. You can ask your employer if they have applied for you. The scheme is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week which is considered a full-time rate
  • $350 for people working less than 20 hours per week which is considered a part-time rate.

The subsidy is paid as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee. The amount paid to you may differ due to deductions (like tax) and your employment circumstances.

Organisations can only apply for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy for employees who are legally working in New Zealand. This includes people on work visas or student visas with conditions that allow them to work.

To qualify, the organisation you work for must meet the following criteria:

  • Be registered as applicable for their organisation and operating in New Zealand.
  • Have had at least a 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over a month, when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19.
  • Have taken active steps to lessen the impact of COVID-19.

If your employer is eligible and has not applied, but has proposed to reduce your pay, they need to explain to you in good faith why they have not applied.

More information on the Wage Subsidy Scheme (external link)

Wage Subsidy employer search

You can see which businesses have received payments under the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme on the Work and Income website.

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy employer search (external link)

This information has been published to ensure payments under the Wage Subsidy Scheme are transparent and that the scheme is accountable to the public.

Wage Subsidy Scheme — Complaints about employers

If you believe your employer is receiving the subsidy, but not meeting the conditions they agreed to, talk to your employer first. If the issue is not resolved, you can make a complaint to Employment New Zealand.

Make a complaint about your employer (external link)

COVID-19 Leave Support scheme

This scheme helps eligible businesses pay their employees who can’t come into work because public health guidelines recommend they stay at home, and they can't work from home.

Your employer will make the application for support to pay you. If you’re self-employed or working as a contractor, you can apply directly yourself.

The scheme is paid at the same rates as the Wage Subsidy scheme.  

From 28 April, the COVID-19 Leave Support scheme covers all workers outside of the state sector. Applications for the COVID-19 Leave Support scheme can be made from 1 May.

How to apply for the Leave Support Scheme (external link)

COVID-19 financial support tool

You can use the COVID-19 financial support tool to find out what financial help may be available to you.

The tool will take you, step by step, through a series of questions to find out your personal circumstances:

  • Your work status, for example, employee.
  • Your situation, for example, reduced or zero hours.
  • Whether your workplace has reduced business.

The tool will then tell you what financial help and support you could access, and where you can apply or find more information.

Use COVID-19 financial support tool

Other financial support

If you are experiencing financial distress, you may be able to get help from Work and Income. Check what support you might be able to get on the online eligibility guide.

More information on financial support for individuals

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