Covid-19 – Accessing Support and Impact of levels

Friday 20th August 2021

In case you hadn’t heard Canterbury is still at level 4.  This means that we can now realistically expect that, for businesses that are completely closed, the Wage Subsidy is likely to become accessible to you.


Applications are now open for this Subsidy, but to be able to access it there are a few hurdles to jump through.  This is to provide you with guidance on that process (see “To access the Subsidy” below.  But first, a few generalities:

  • Keep safe – follow health guidelines and only have staff at work if it fits the Essential business guidelines - see .

  • For a good overall summary and links to key support, this site is easy to use:

  • If you are going to change any working arrangements with staff and any changes to what you pay them, make sure it is in accordance with your employment agreements or that you get your employees’ agreement in writing (email and text is OK if you can be sure it is from them).

  • In terms of the Wage Subsidy, here are some general guidelines:

    • The Wage Subsidy is able to be applied for now – and will be open for two weeks. So, you do need to consider quite urgently, whether or not you qualify.

    • To access the Subsidy there are a number of eligibility criteria you must meet, including:
      • You must be able to show or estimate (and subsequently be able to show) that your revenue for the fortnight 17-30 August is at least 40% lower than your revenue for a typical fortnight in the period 6 July – 16 August. Do not assume – you will need to work the figures.  (And previous periods cannot include income from other subsidies)
      • You must be able to demonstrate you have tried other avenues to obtain $ - including your bank, any insurance coverage or spare cash reserves.
      • You must have agreement in writing from your employees to you sharing their information and a few other things – I attach a copy of a letter that they can sign here

    • To apply follow the guidelines on this page

    • This can be applied for if you are self-employed – you would need to identify what you normally pay yourself per week.

  • In terms of paying staff, your prime responsibility is to pay as normal. To move away from that you need to use provisions in your employment agreements or have negotiated with your employees.  If you do receive a subsidy you are expected to use best endeavours to pay at least at 80% - but it does not mean you only have to pay 80%.  It is merely for situations where you genuinely cannot afford to pay in full and have followed fair process.

If you have specific questions that come to mind as a result of this, please email me – the chances are that others have them too, and I will send regular updates for a few days anyway.


Essential HR are here to help.  For ongoing help, contact Mike on 027 2808546 or or leave a message on 03 3650532 – our landline is not monitored, but all messages are immediately emailed to us, so we can still respond reasonably quickly – apologies for any delays in reaching us on cell phones. 

I’m happy for you to pass this on to others.

If you need to conference call, we are all set up with Zoom.

Need help managing staff?

Mike has a wealth of experience advising on every aspect of the employer-employee relationship. I can give you per-phone guidance or work along side you to make things happen.

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