August 2021 Wage Subsidy – Now Open for Applications
The Wage Subsidy August 2021 Scheme is now open for online applications through the Ministry of Social Development.
As with previous, schemes, there are a number of declarations that Businesses and Self-Employed people must make. These declarations form part of your application.
The declaration has become much more detailed since the first Wage Subsidy Scheme was introduced in March 2020, and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some are the same, but there are some important new declarations you should know about too.
What are my obligations, and the Declarations I am required to make?
So what’s changed?
If you are applying for the August 2021 Wage Subsidy you must declare/acknowledge that:
- Preparing and retaining evidence support your declaration: you will prepare and retain information to support your declaration, such as:
- records showing how a revenue decline was attributable to a move to level 4,
- records that demonstrate you have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of the move to level 4,
- you are not receiving any other type of wage subsidy for any of the employees covered in your application.
- Complying with employment law: granting the application, and receipt of the wage subsidy does not override existing obligations employment law, and you will comply with these obligations,
- No unilateral changes to hours or pay: you will not make any changes to employment agreements (including hours or work and rates of pay) for any of the named employees without their written consent,
- Employee information: you have obtained written consent from your employees included in your application to:
- Give to MSD information (including any further information required in order for MSD to make decisions about your application, and to review or audit and wage subsidy support grated) about them,
- you notifying MSD if an employee ends employment during the subsidy period, and
- the use of the information by MSD, and sharing that with other governmental and non-governmental organisations for decision making and audit or review purposes.
Businesses considering applying for the August 2021 Wage Subsidy should familiarise themselves with these declarations, which can be reviewed here on the Work and Income website.
What hasn’t changed?
You will still need to declare that:
- there is an actual or predicted decline in revenue (of at least 40% – up from 30% in earlier schemes) that is attributable to the move to alert level 4 on 17 August 2021. Note: The comparator period can be a typical 14 day period of revenue in the six weeks immediately prior to 17 August, or (if your business is seasonal) you can compare revenue with the same 14 day period in 2020 or 2019.
- use your best endeavours to pay at least 80 percent of each named employee’s ordinary wages or salary (note: this does not allow you to automatically reduce employee pay to 80%, you must get written consent first), and
- pay at least the full amount of an employee’s actual ordinary wages or salary, or the wage subsidy received for that employee (whichever is lower).
We are available to help
The declarations around privacy, information sharing, and what you must tell your employees, are now quite detailed. We are available to help with any communications with your employees about the wage subsidy, to ensure that you remain compliant with your employment and privacy obligations.
What are the other types of business support?
Applications remain open for the Short Term Absence Payment, and the Leave Support Scheme.
The Resurgence Support Payment opened for applications from today. This is different from the Wage Subsidy and can be used towards other business costs. You need to demonstrate a 30% reduction in revenue, for a 7 day period since alert levels increased. This may be applied for (through the IRD) in addition to the Wage Subsidy.