All of New Zealand is at Alert Level 1
All businesses can operate, provided they can meet the rules to operate safely. Businesses are still required to display the official QR codes for the NZ COVID Tracer app at all alert levels.
COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme
If your employees have been told by a health official to self-isolate and they cannot work from home, you can can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme for them. You can also apply if you are self-employed or a sole trader.
The scheme means employees and self-employed people receive an income if they cannot work from home while they’re self-isolating.
The COVID-19 Leave Support is paid as a lump sum, calculated to cover 2 weeks. You can re-apply after this time if your employees still qualify.
If your employees work in health, disability or aged-care facilities or services and they have COVID-19 symptoms, you can tell them to self-isolate while they wait to get a test or they are waiting for their test results. They will still be eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.
Business Finance Guarantee scheme
Your small or medium-sized business may be eligible for a Business Finance Guarantee Scheme loan.
These loans can support operating cashflow and capital assets and projects related to, responding to or for recovering from the impacts of COVID-19.
What is available in the scheme
Participating lenders can provide to eligible businesses:
- new loans
- increased limits to existing loans
- revolving credit facilities.
Participating banks and non-banks, for example building societies, can lend outside of their normal lending criteria.
If you borrow from a bank, you could borrow up to $5 million for a term of up to 5 years.
If you borrow from a non-bank, you could borrow up to $3 million for a term of up to 5 years.
The scheme is supported by the Government, which takes up to 80% of the scheme loan’s default risk.
No personal guarantee is required. Participating banks and non-banks make all lending decisions. You must still pay the loan back, with interest, as you would usually.
Business cash flow and tax measures
Inland Revenue has information on a range of measures to help businesses as they recover. These include:
- greater flexibility for taxpayers in respect of statutory tax deadlines
- changes to the tax loss continuity rules
- a tax loss carry-back scheme
- measures to support commercial tenants and landlords
- further business consultancy support.
Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme
Organisations and small-to-medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.
The Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme provides assistance to firms employing 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees. The maximum amount that can be borrowed is $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee and only one amount can be drawn down.
Loans will be interest-free if they’re paid back within 2 years. The interest rate will be 3% for a maximum term of 5 years. Repayments are not required for the first 2 years.
Applications are open until 31 December 2023.
Insolvency relief for businesses
The Companies Office offers relief for companies and other entities facing difficulties in complying with their statutory obligations, or obligations under their constitutions or rules, as they recover from the impacts of COVID-19.
The COVID-19 Business Debt Hibernation scheme allows businesses to place their existing debts on hold for up to 7 months to help them start trading normally again.
Information on how you can access the insolvency relief and the requirements that you’ll need to meet is available on the Companies Office website.
COVID-19 commercial lease dispute services
If commercial tenants and landlords of small-to-medium businesses have not been able to agree about rent arrangements during a lockdown period (Alert Levels 3 and 4), they can use the COVID-19 commercial lease dispute services to try to reach an agreement acceptable to both parties.
The services are arbitration and mediation services to resolve commercial lease disputes due to COVID-19.
Arbitration services will be subsidised up to $6,000 for each dispute. Mediation services will be fully funded, up to a value of $4,000 for each dispute.
These services are available until 31 March 2021.
Apprenticeship Boost Initiative
Support will be available to employers of first and second year apprentices in a Tertiary Education Commission-approved New Zealand Apprenticeship or Managed Apprenticeship programme.
The amount that can be claimed will vary depending on when an apprentice started their training programme and when they reach 24 months. Employers can claim:
- $1,000 a month for eligible apprentices in the first 12 months of their training programme
- $500 a month in the second 12 months of their training programme.
Funding will be available until April 2022.
Employers are required to top up the funding they receive to ensure their apprentices receive at least the minimum or training wage they are legally entitled to.