Covid 19 Update 18 August 2021

A little progress has been made on key issues to the disability support sector over the course of Wednesday.

Firstly, Minister of Finance Robertson announced the return of the Wages Subsidy for eligible employers.  The Government’s Covid-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme will be available for businesses across New Zealand impacted by the lockdown.

The Wage Subsidy Scheme is available nationally when there’s a regional or national move to Alert Levels 3 and 4 for a period of seven days.  The eligibility criteria for the Wages Subsidy remains the same as before, if the service expects a loss of 40 per cent of revenue as a result of the alert level increase announced yesterday.  The rates have been increased to reflect the increase in wage costs since the scheme was first used in March 2020. Businesses will be eligible for $600 per week per full-time equivalent employee, and $359 per week per part-time employee.

This Wages Subsidy may be helpful to you if you have staff with vulnerable health needs who have been removed from the workforce for safety and risk reasons, in order to preserve and protect their jobs.

Secondly, we are interested in finding out what funding will be provided for services that have been suspended or that are facing extraordinary expenses.  The Ministry signalled earlier today that they were working on this with providers and would make an announcement on surety payments and extraordinary costs later today.  A clear and simple process that doesn’t take forever to resolve is key here and we will be watching this space carefully and advising members as soon as information becomes available.