Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Wage subsidy scheme triggered

Today’s decision to keep Auckland in a higher COVID Alert Level triggers a third round of the Wage Subsidy Scheme which will open for applications at 9am this Friday, the Government has announced.

“The revenue test period for this payment will be the 14th to the 27th of September. A reminder that this is available for those in Auckland, but also those around the country who can establish that their revenue loss is a result of Alert Level 3 or 4 in Auckland,” Finance Minister, Grant Robertson said.

Friday is also when eligible businesses can apply for another Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) to help them pay their rent and other fixed costs. This is available to all businesses that can show a 30% drop in revenue while anywhere in the country is at Alert Level 2.

“The RSP was originally intended to be a one-off payment, but after consultation with our business community we have agreed to make it a three-weekly payment – in recognition of the challenges businesses are facing,” Mr Robertson said.

“I know it is tough to go through a second Alert Level 4 lockdown in New Zealand when we have been enjoying a restriction-free lifestyle for so much longer than our international counterparts.

“It’s partly for that reason that we are actually providing more support to businesses in this current lock down than we did when we last had level 4 restrictions.

“Over a month in alert level 4 last year an eligible business with 10 employees would have received about $23,000 in support, whereas this outbreak it will be about $35,000 for the same sized firm.

“So far this outbreak the Government has paid out almost $1.8 billion in wage subsidies and $531 million in Resurgence Support Payments.

“The economy is operating above pre-COVID levels thanks to our strong public health response. These principles will continue to guide our approach to supporting the economy, businesses and workers at this challenging time,” the Finance Minister said.

Social Development Minister, Carmel Sepuloni said the Ministry of Social Development was doing a great job of administering the wage subsidy and had approved over 427,000 applications from employees and sole traders.

“Ninety-one percent of approved applications are paid within three working days. The applications taking longer are largely sole traders. The reason for this is mostly due to data in the application not matching with data held by Inland Revenue,” Ms Sepuloni said.

“MSD is working with applicants and Inland Revenue on resolving these as quickly as possible. This includes calling an average of 7,000 applicants a day to check information and working with them to make the changes needed to get their application processed.

“Over 25,000 delayed applications for the initial wage subsidy have been processed over the past week.

“It is really important that businesses make sure the details they provide MSD match the details held on their business by Inland Revenue. This small check will mean they receive support as quickly as possible,” she said.

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