Weekly Digest – 9 September 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

Lockdown Outside Auckland Has Been Lifted

The nationwide lockdown outside Auckland has been lifted after three weeks. At midnight on Tuesday, the country moved into Alert Level 2. This means people are already allowed to return to work and school.

However, Auckland will remain at Alert Level 4 for at least one more week.

Economy Not Likely to Suffer as Much During this Lockdown

While household spending has declined after the country was moved quickly into Alert Level 4 three weeks ago, economists say it isn’t as bad as last year and that the country is more resilient and better prepared this time around.

Last year, GDP declined by 11% in Q2 due to lockdowns, but rebounded 14% in Q3. Economists are expecting a similar pattern, but not of the same magnitude.

COVID Support for Businesses Amid Level 4 Lockdown

Businesses impacted financially by this lockdown are being offered a range of support measures. You can find information on the COVID-19 website detailing the support available, or there’s a recap below.

If your business has to close temporarily or reduce opening hours

COVID-19 Wage Subsidy

If your business cannot operate because of Alert Level 4 restrictions or you will lose revenue, you can apply for the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy scheme to help keep paying your staff and protect jobs.

Businesses and self-employed people must expect a 40% drop in revenue to be eligible to receive the wage subsidy.

The wage subsidy is paid in a 2 week lump sum. You can get:

  • $600 per week for each full-time employee
  • $359 per week for each part-time worker retained.

As an employer you must pass on the full wage subsidy to your employee. If the wage subsidy is more than your employee’s pay, you can continue to pay them at their normal rate.

Wage Subsidy 2021 #2 Update

The Wage Subsidy currently only applies to those businesses operating under Level 4 or Level 3 restrictions. This means generally anyone outside of the Auckland borders cannot and should not apply for this round of Wage Subsidy (at this stage).
If you have applied and received the subsidy (done before the move to Level 2) then you will need to consider and ensure that

  1. your revenue does in fact drop by 40% for the 2 weeks from 31 August to 13 September and
  2. it is attributable to the time spent at level 3 and/or any direct knock-on effect of Auckland remaining at level 4.

Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Find out more about the Leave Support Scheme on the Work and Income website.

COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment

The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment helps cover wages and fixed costs for businesses who have been directly affected when there is an increase to Alert Level 2 or higher for a week or more.

To be eligible, your business must have experienced at least a 30% drop in revenue or a 30% decline in capital-raising ability over a 7-day period, due to an increase in Alert Levels.

You can receive $1,500 per business plus $400 per full-time employee (FTE), up to 50 FTE.
The maximum payment is $21,500.

If you’re a sole trader, you can receive a payment of up to $1,900.

Applications for the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment are now open. You need to apply through Inland Revenue. Businesses anywhere in New Zealand can apply if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Find out more information about the COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment and how to apply here.

If your business has reduced revenue

Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme

If you employ 50 or fewer staff, you may be able to apply for the Small Business Cashflow Loan Scheme. This is a one-off 5 year loan where you can borrow a maximum of $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee within your business.

  • When applying for the loan, you need to be able to declare that your business is viable.
  • Your business must have experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month, compared with the same month last year.
  • Applications are open until 31 December 2023 through myIR. If your business does not have a myIR account, you will need to create one to apply.

Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within 2 years. The interest rate is 3% for a maximum term of 5 years.

IRD tax assistance

If you’re finding it hard to meet your tax obligations, Inland Revenue may be able to help. Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

Insolvency relief

The COVID-19 Business Debt Hibernation scheme allows businesses to get a month’s protection while they talk to their creditors.

If an employee needs to self isolate

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

If an employee cannot work from home while self-isolating, you may be able to apply for financial support so they can continue to get paid.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid as a 2 week lump sum at the rate of:

  • $600 a week for full-time employees
  • $359 a week for part-time employees

You cannot get the Wage Subsidy August 2021, Leave Support Scheme and Short-Term Absence Payment for the same employee at the same time.

If an employee is awaiting the result of a COVID-19 rest

COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

The Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350. You can find the details here

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of supports available to businesses.

Training Incentive Allowance

The Training Incentive Allowance can help with tuition fees, books, childcare, equipment, transport and any additional caring costs while studying. It’s available for courses at levels 1-7 of the NZ Qualifications Framework. Visit the Work and Income website to find out who’s eligible, how much you can get and who can apply.

4 Easy Ways to Provide More Value for Your Customers

Customers choose you over your competitors because you provide the most value. As competitors find ways to make their offerings more appealing than yours, you should also implement some strategies to provide even greater value than you already do and retain customers. This Forbes article shares some tips on how you can achieve this.

  • Become a niche authority. Establish yourself as an authority in your niche and provide solutions or insights to their pain points through blogs and social media posts.
  • Ask customers for feedback. Obtain honest feedback from customers to discover how you can add even greater value and improve customer experience.
  • Proactively customise your offerings. A one-size-fits-all approach doesn’t always work. Understand what each client needs and tailor your services accordingly.
  • Reward loyalty. If you want to gain repeat customers, find ways to reward their loyalty. Provide incentives and devise a rewards system.

As you try to make your customers happier, your business becomes more memorable and valuable for them. Therefore, it’s a win-win situation!

Need more focused business advice? Get in touch with us today and we can talk about your situation.

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