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 various 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.
On this page:
Resurgence Support Payment
The Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) is a payment to help support viable and ongoing businesses or organisations due to a COVID-19 alert level increase to Level 2 or higher. If your business or organisation is facing a reduction in revenue due to an alert level increase, you may be eligible for the RSP.
Resurgence Support Payment applications for the alert level increase announced on 17 August 2021 are now open. Applications will remain open for one month after a nationwide return to Alert Level 1.
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.
The decline in revenue must be a result of the specific alert level change, not just COVID-19 in general. You must have been in business for at least six months to be eligible. Charities, not-for-profit organisations, the self-employed and pre-revenue businesses, such as start-ups may also be eligible.
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.
There have been some recent changes to the eligibility criteria for commonly owned groups. A commonly owned group generally consists of businesses that have the same owners. Some individual businesses or organisations within a commonly owned group may now be eligible for RSP. You can find examples of commonly owned groups and more eligibility criteria for the RSP on the Inland Revenue website.
You can also calculate how much you may be entitled to and how to apply on Inland Revenue's website.
Eligibility for the Resurgence Support Payment(external link) – Inland Revenue
Apply for the Resurgence Support Payment(external link) – Inland Revenue
If you don’t meet the criteria for RSP but do have cash flow problems, Inland Revenue can help. Visit their Manage my tax page for more information.
Manage my tax(external link) – Inland Revenue
Having an NZBN could make applying for financial support easier
A New Zealand Business Number (NZBN) a globally unique identifier for each New Zealand business.
If you’re a registered company, you’ll already have one. If you’re self-employed, a sole-trader, a partnership or a trust, you can apply on the NZBN website.
Wage Subsidy Scheme
Applications for the initial two-week Wage Subsidy (Wage Subsidy August 2021), which opened on 20 August 2021, will close at 11:59pm on Thursday 2 September.
Applications for a second round of Wage Subsidy (Wage Subsidy August 2021 #2) will open at 9am on Friday 3 September. You can apply on the Work and Income website.
If you applied for the Wage Subsidy in the initial two-week period, you can also apply for Wage Subsidy #2, two weeks after your previous application, if you meet eligibility criteria. Work and Income will email you to let you know when to apply. Don’t send in early applications, they won’t be accepted as each payment is for a two-week period. If you didn’t apply for the initial Wage Subsidy you can apply for Wage Subsidy #2 from 3 September, if you meet eligibility criteria.
The Wage Subsidy is a payment to support eligible businesses, organisations and the self-employed affected at Alert Levels 3 and 4, so they can continue to pay employees and protect jobs.
To reflect higher wage costs since the scheme was first used in March 2020 the payments have been increased to:
$600 per week per full-time employee
$359 per week per part-time employee.
Information on the Wage Subsidy Scheme(external link) — Work and Income
Sign up for Wage Subsidy Scheme updates(external link) — Work and Income
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.
There’s a one-off payment of $359 payment for each eligible worker. Employers or the self-employed can apply for any worker once in any 30-day period.
More information and how to apply(external link) – 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) of $600 per week for full-time workers and $359 per week for part-time workers.
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(external link) — Work and Income
How to apply for the Leave Support Scheme(external link) — 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.
If you've previously applied for a SBCS and have fully repaid it, you can apply again.
Applications are open until 31 December 2023. You can apply through myIR.
The small business cash flow loan scheme will provide assistance of up to a maximum of $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 six months compared with the same 14-day period a year ago. If your revenue from the same period a year ago was also affected by COVID-19, compare the same 14-day period two years ago.
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.
myIR(external link) — Inland Revenue
If your businesses doesn’t have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.
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(external link) — Inland Revenue
During the COVID-19 outbreak, you’ll find ACC updates that affect you here:
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.
Got questions? Call the COVID-19 business helpline.
North Island 0800 500 362
South Island 0800 505 096