Commercial & Business, Employment & Health and Safety, Insights

COVID-19 Support Payment Now Available

The Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus is now sweeping the country, causing large scale disruption to workforces and supply chains. Even though we are now in Phase 3 of the Omicron response, meaning that now only positive cases and household contacts are required to self-isolate, the sheer number of cases active in the community is putting many businesses under serious strain. Further, the Wage Subsidy scheme has now ended. In response to this situation, the government has initiated a new fortnightly COVID-19 Support Payment (CSP) for businesses that are hard affected by Omicron. Applications for the CSP opened on 28 February for the period starting 16 February 2022.

The CSP is a payment to help viable and ongoing businesses or organisations which have experienced a 40% drop in revenue because of:

  • The widespread presence of COVID-19 in the community
  • Public health legislative measures taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19
  • Any business circumstances that are, or are likely to be, the consequence of the circumstances described above.

These business circumstances include, but are not limited to:

  • Businesses not being able to operate to usual levels due to staff having to self-isolate
  • Businesses impacted by NZ based supply chain disruptions
  • Lower retail and recreation movements in a region (e.g. CBD) due to customers working from home or self-isolating.

They do not include circumstances where a business that can operate at Red has chosen to close temporarily without taking all reasonably practicable steps to minimise revenue losses.

Applicants will not be eligible if they have not taken all reasonable steps to minimise revenue losses, are not compliant with vaccine certificate requirements or are a self-employed and have received or will apply for funding under the Cultural Sector Emergency Relief Fund: Grant for Self-Employed Individuals.

For the first payment, the affected revenue period for which you must show a 40% drop is from 16 February 2022, as compared to the period of 5 January 2022 – 15 February 2022. Businesses will also be able to use 5 January 2021 – 15 February 2021 as the comparison period, although this option is not yet available. Seasonal businesses may select a 7-day period that is before 5 January 2022, and may be from a past year, that reflects their typical revenue.

The first payment will be open for at least six weeks.

The CSP is calculated as $4,000 plus $400 per FTE (up to 50 FTE). Sole traders can claim themselves as an employee. The maximum payment is $20,000. Businesses with low revenue will have their payment capped at 8 times the loss in revenue.

Applications are made through IRD.