Weekly Digest – 1 April 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic deepens its hold across the country, governments and industry leaders are stepping up to help those impacted. To help you make sense of the barrage of information out there, we’ve put together a summary of helpful resources.

There is news further news on additional business support or stimulus packages, but there some finer details have been announced.

Wage Subsidy

If you haven’t already, you may be able to apply for a wage subsidy. The wage subsidy supports employers adversely affected by COVID-19 so they can keep paying their staff. It also helps workers continue to receive their income, even if they can’t work. Here is the criteria:

  • You must be able to show a decline in revenue of at least 30%. For businesses over a year old, this is measured by comparison to the same period last year.
  • The revenue decline must be due to the virus and no other reason
  • Staff that you apply for the subsidy need to be retained and be paid a minimum of 80% of their normal wage/salary
  • This subsidy is available to employers. It is also available to self-employed people and shareholder-employees.

Further details:

  • Employers receiving the wage subsidy must make every effort to pay employees at least 80% of their wages, and if they cannot do this, they must pass on the full wage subsidy to employees
  • Employers cannot terminate an employee while receiving the wage subsidy
  • Names will be published of all employers receiving the Wage Subsidy
  • All legal obligations apply including paying staff for hours worked if over and above 80% of their wages/salary,
  • Even if your business is not operating currently, you may be still eligible for the Wage Subsidy
  • Payments will be paid as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee. Employers can pass that on through usual pay cycles or at other intervals.

You can apply for the wage subsidy here.

Minimum wage increase on 1 April – this has NOT been put on hold

Please remember there is a minimum wage increase from 1 April 2020. This is increasing by $1.20 which will take it to $18.90 per hour. Details can be found here.

Latest update from the IRD

This is the latest message from the IRD. “If your business is unable to pay its taxes on time due to the impact of COVID-19, we understand, you don’t need to contact us right now. Get in touch with us when you can, and we’ll write-off any penalties and interest.”

However, it may help if you continue to file. This information is used to make correct payments to people, and to help the Government continue to respond to what is happening in the economy.

No official deferral on 7 April deadline

At this stage, there is no deferral on the payment of tax, GST or PAYE so the 7 April tax payment is expected to be paid. As the IRD says, they still expect the required returns to be filed irrespective of payment.

Time for some good news

China is reporting a significant reduction in new cases. This week, Hubei province opened transportation connections back up to Wuhan, with further controls to be lifted throughout the region.

The collective pause that we’re having (even though it’s forced) might be a pause for good. The slowdown in production and transportation is creating a huge reduction in pollution levels. Reports seem to indicate that China’s lockdown led to a 25% decrease in CO2 emissions when compared with the same period in 2019.

On Thursday night, after coordinated efforts on social media, the UK stopped to go outside and applaud all NHS staff and carers bravely fighting the disease on the front line.

While social media can be overloaded at times, there are many lovely videos surfacing from Italy, Spain and other countries around the world where people are making the most of the lockdown.

Here to help

As always, we’re wishing you all the best. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We are all in this together!