‘Vital’ payment welcomed by Southern employers

Grant Robertson. Photo: RNZ
Grant Robertson. Photo: RNZ
Southern businesses are welcoming the introduction of the Government’s Covid-19 resurgence payment.

The one-off resurgence support payment (RSP) is designed to help businesses cover costs, such as rent or fixed costs during higher alert levels.

To be eligible for the payment, which took effect yesterday, businesses must have had a 30% drop in revenue over a seven-day period because of the lockdown.

The RSP includes a base payment of $1500 per business, plus $400 per employee, up to a total of 50 full-time staff, with a maximum payment of $21,500.

Businesses with more than 50 full-time staff can apply, but will not get more than the maximum.

Businesses can apply for the RSP at the same time as the wage subsidy.

Yesterday, Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the scheme would be available until all of New Zealand returned to Alert Level 1 for one month.

‘‘A strong public health response is still the best economic response.

‘‘The economy overall has been performing more strongly than when Covid reached our shores,’’ Mr Robertson said.

The Otago Southland Employers’ Association welcomed the government support.

Association solicitor Dr Kathryn McAuley said it was encouraging any businesses eligible to apply.

The payment was ‘‘vital’’ alongside the wage subsidy, because businesses also had other costs they had to meet, she said.

The application process had been made simpler this time, and the website also had a calculator businesses could use.

The association had been getting calls from businesses which were struggling, Dr McAuley said.

‘‘It is really good to have that payment available for them ... last time there was a lot of unknowns but the thing we did know was the length of time we were going to be in lockdown.’’

Business owners who wanted support were encouraged to ring the Covid-19 helpline - 0800 50 50 98 - operated by the association and the Otago Chamber of Commerce, Dr McAuley said.

Other financial support for businesses includes the leave support scheme, available for employers, including the self-employed, to help pay employees who need to self-isolate and cannot work from home.

It pays a lump sum of $600 per week for each full-time staff member and $359 a week for part-time workers for up to two weeks.

The short-term absence payment is available to businesses, including the self-employed, to cover staff who cannot work from home while they wait for a Covid-19 test result.

That payment is the same as the leave support scheme.

The wage subsidy scheme has had more than 127,000 applications, and $484 million has been paid out, since it reopened on Friday.

The majority of applicants are sole traders or small firms, 72% having 19 or fewer employees.

- Additional reporting The New Zealand Herald & RNZ


Howsabout a payment for those stuck in their homes, not allowed to talk to their neighbors, paying extra electricty/food costs?....crickets.