More than 47,000 businesses have applied for the latest Wage Subsidy scheme after an outbreak of the Delta variant of Covid-19 forced the country into Level 4 lockdown on Tuesday.
Wage Subsidy August 2021, which opened today, is available to all businesses that meet its criteria.
To qualify for the Wage Subsidy, a business must experience, or expect to experience, at least a 40 per cent decline in revenue as a result of the move to Alert Level 4.
The Wage Subsidy payment has been increased, to reflect wage cost increases, to $600 a week for each full-time worker (20 hours a week or more) and $359 a week for part-time workers retained.
"The Government has reactivated a number of business support measures to give certainty to businesses and workers and support jobs at this challenging time," Finance Minister Grant Robertson said in a statement.
"You can apply to contribute to the wages of your employees, or yourself, if you are self-employed, over the next two-week period. By 2pm today more than 47,000 businesses and sole traders had applied for the subsidy," Robertson said.
Online applications for Wage Subsidy August 2021 can be found through the Ministry of Social Development.
"We are encouraging employers and those self-employed to ensure the accuracy of the information they provide, as that will delay processing if it isn't correct," Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni said.
"We've also got the Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme, which is available to help businesses pay workers who have been told to self-isolate and can't work from home. The Covid-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is also available if your workers have to stay at home while waiting for a Covid-19 test result and can't work from home.
"The rates for these two payments will be increased in line with the Wage Subsidy increase from Tuesday, 24 August.
"It's important to note that you can only receive one of these three Covid-19 payments from MSD for the named person on the application for the same time period."
This afternoon Cabinet agreed to extend the lockdown for the reminder of the country to seven days, joining Auckland and Coromandel.