Finance Minister Grant Robertson has said legislation will be introduced under urgency today (Tuesday, February 16) to set up a new Resurgence Support Payment for businesses affected by any resurgence of COVID-19.

“Since the scheme was announced in December we have decided to make a change to the payment – reducing the time over which a revenue drop is assessed from 14 days to seven,” Grant Robertson said.

“We acknowledge the concerns of the business community about Alert Level rises and have made this change as we want to get money out the door quickly to affected businesses.”

Firms that experience a 30 percent drop in revenue over a 7-day period will be eligible. The payment would include a core per business rate of $1500 plus $400 per employee up to a total of 50 FTEs ($21,500).

“This payment recognises that some businesses face one-off costs or impacts to cashflow when we step up an Alert Level to follow public health advice. The payment is structured to provide most support to smaller firms who are most likely to face cashflow issues but will be available to all businesses and sole traders.

“A decision on whether this support will come into effect will be made if there is an extension to the seventy-two hour increase in alert levels announced on Sunday night. If it does come into effect it will cover the initial 72 hour Alert Level rise as well,” Grant Robertson said.

The Government has a package of support available, in addition to this payment, including:

-A new Short-Term Absence Payment to cover eligible workers needing to stay at home while awaiting a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350 to employers to pay workers who need to stay home while awaiting a test or while someone who is their dependent is doing so, in accordance with public health advice. Further information about this payment is available on the MSD website.

-The Leave Support Scheme helps businesses to help pay workers (including self-employed) told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. It’s paid as a lump sum and covers two weeks per eligible employee at the rates of $585.80 for each employee working 20 hours or more a week and $350 for each employee working less than 20 hours a week. Information is available here.

• The Wage Subsidy Scheme will also be available nationally when there’s a regional or national move to Alert Levels three and four for a period of seven days. The support will be provided in two weekly payments for the duration of the alert level period, rounded to the nearest fortnight.  The Wage Subsidy Scheme has been very effective in keeping people in work so far with more than $14 billion paid out to protect 1.8 million jobs.

Other support includes the enhanced loan products Business Finance Guarantee Scheme, which is available to June 2021 and Small Business Cashflow Scheme.