Wage Subsidy Clarification

Updated: Apr 18, 2020

Mandy from Grow HR has some clarity around how to pay your staff and how much

  • The current Wage Subsidy Scheme is open while we are at COVID-19 Alert Level 4.

  • The Leave Payment has now been folded into the Wage Subsidy Scheme.

  • Employers must continue to make best efforts to pay staff at least 80% of their normal pay if they cannot work, or are limited in what they can do in lockdown.

  • If normal pay is less than the subsidy only normal pay should be given – see table below.

  • If there is money left over from the subsidy for any given staff member, the remainder can be used toward the wider wage bill, ie. topping up other employees' wages to at least 80% – see table below.

  • Staff must be kept in employment for the duration of the subsidy – if they resign you must notify WINZ.

  • Further announcements are expected this coming week on support for essential workers over 70 or who are immune compromised

Please stay in touch with your staff and keep an eye out for resources from the Mental Health Foundation

Wage Subsidies Details

Wage subsidies will be available for all employers that are significantly impacted by COVID-19 and are struggling to retain employees as a result.

The scheme will be open to all businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed. 

Wage subsidies will be available for businesses in all sectors and all regions that can show a 30% decline in revenue for any month between January and June 2020 compared to the year before (including projected revenue).  

How to Apply

Download the Fact Sheet



If I am a shareholder in a business, can I apply for the wage subsidy?

If you work for the business and you are paid a wage, salary or draw an income for the work you do for the business, you can apply for the wage subsidy.

If I work for a business where there are multiple shareholders, how do I apply for the wage subsidy?

The business you work for should make one application for all of its employees and shareholders who work for the business and are paid a wage, salary or draw an income for that work they do.

Which form do I use?

You can use the ‘employer’ form and the other shareholders if they are paid a wage, salary or draw an income for the work they do for the business, need to have their details entered into the employee section of the form.


If I am a contractor, am I entitled to apply for the wage subsidy?

Yes. Contractors can apply for the wage subsidy using the ‘self-employed’ application, provided you meet the criteria.

How do I calculate whether I qualify for the part time or full-time subsidy if my income fluctuates?

Use an average of hours you worked per week over the last 12 months. If you have been contracting for less than twelve months then use the average for the period you have been contracting.

If this average is 20 hours or more, you can apply for the full-time rate, and if it’s under 20 hours you can apply for the part-time rate.

Leave Payment

(Employee is Sick with Covid-19 or caring for someone with it)

If your employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, do they have to use their accrued sick leave before they are eligible for the COVID-19 leave payment?

Employees do not need to use their sick or annual leave entitlement before you can apply for the COVID-19 leave payment – it can be applied for right away. You can have a conversation with your employee about whether they would prefer to use any accrued sick or annual leave first, rather than the COVID-19 leave payment as there may be cases where the employee would receive more through their own sick leave than the COVID-19 payment.

Do you have more Questions or want to talk about your specific case

Contact one of our Business Support Advisors

Email Here


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