COVID-19 Wage Subsidy

Updated: Apr 13

The COVID-19 Government Wage Subsidy is available to support employers affected by COVID-19. There is also the the COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support available to employers, however please note that you can't receive both COVID-19 payments for the same employee at the same time.


Check what payment you can apply for


Who can get the Wage Subsidy

All New Zealand employers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 are eligible to apply. This includes:

  • registered charities

  • Non-government organisations (NGOs)

  • the self-employed and sole traders

  • contractors

  • incorporated societies, and

  • post-settlement governance entities.


If you're an employer, contractor, sole trader or self-employed, you may qualify to get the COVID-19 wage subsidy.

To qualify:

  • your business is registered and operating in New Zealand

  • your employees are legally working in New Zealand, including employees who:

  • have a NZ work visa

  • have a condition on their NZ temporary visa that allows them to work in NZ

  • are international students whose visa allows them to work in NZ

  • the business has experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19

  • your business has taken active steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19

  • you must retain the employees named in your application for the period of the subsidy.


For definitions of these qualifications, see the information under the 'Definitions for Wage Subsidy qualifications' heading on the page below.


When you apply, you'll need to confirm that you've read, understood and agree to a declaration.


What you can get

The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate)

  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate).


The subsidy is paid as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee.

Hours fluctuate


If you work variable hours (or your employee does), you can use an average to work out what rate to apply for.


Use the average hours worked each week:

  • over the last 12 months, or

  • over the period of time you (or they) have been employed (if it's less than 12 months).


If the average hours are:

  • 20 or more, apply for the full-time rate

  • less than 20, apply for the part-time rate



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