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The wage subsidy scheme will be extended after PM Jacinda Ardern announced that she will be extending the level 3 alert in Auckland and level 2 alert for NZ until August 26, to help with the ongoing lockdown. It will cover the current level three restrictions in place in Auckland and New Zealand, to support businesses and protect jobs.
“Finance minister Grant Robertson will be working through the final details with the officials and minister Sepuloni over the weekend. But I can say, that the extension to the wage subsidy will be nationwide and will cover the period of time that the current level three restrictions remain in place,” said Jacinda Ardern.
Jacinda Ardern also mentioned the subsidies would be available to businesses nationwide but in terms of other details, that would be worked on by Finance Minister Grant Robertson.
Grant Robertson will be addressing media later in the evening for a more in-depth response to the financial side of things regarding the current lockdown levels. Robertson said the criteria and eligibility requirements for the extension to the wage subsidies would be similar to previous criteria.
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The first round of the wage subsidy in March saw the Government pay up to $585.00 a week for a full-time employee and $350.00 a week for a part-time employee. In the past, businesses have had to show a 30 or 40 per cent drop in revenues due to the impact of Covid-19 in order to claim the wage subsidy.
The first subsidy was originally available for 12 weeks, but it was continued. The total bill is $13 billion so far. Auckland accounts for just over one-third of New Zealand’s economy – and a lot of that subsidy money.
”We will see businesses going under and jobs lost because of this. That is why the wage subsidy is crucial so the businesses can survive,” he said.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson put $14 billion of the Government’s COVID-19 fund aside in July in case there would be a second wave of the Covid-19 virus.
You can find out how to apply for COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension at the Work and Income website by clicking here.