Employee information for COVID-19 Wage Subsidy

If your employer's business has been affected by COVID-19, they may be able to get the Wage Subsidy to help pay you.


Employers can no longer apply for the Wage Subsidy.

Your employer can't get both the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy and the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme for you at the same time.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available to help employers pay employees who:

  • can't come into work because Ministry of Health guidelines recommend they stay at home, and
  • can't work from home.
  • Wage Subsidy applications

    Your employer needs to apply for the Wage Subsidy and there are certain criteria they need to meet.

    • If you're working multiple jobs, each of your employers may be able to get the Wage Subsidy to help pay you.
    • If you're a casual employee, your employer can apply for you if:
      • you're employed by them at the time they apply, and
      • you would have expected to work during the time they will receive the subsidy.
    • If you get ACC earnings related compensation, your employer can't apply for you. But they can apply for you if you've returned to work and no longer get ACC.
    • If you're a sole-trader and an employee, and your employer has already applied for a Wage Subsidy for you, you can still apply as a sole trader.

    In all cases, your employer needs to meet the criteria for the Wage Subsidy.

  • Wage Subsidy payments

    Your employer will get:

    • $585.80 if you're working 20 hours or more a week (full-time rate), or
    • $350 if you're working less than 20 hours a week (part-time rate).

    The subsidy is paid to your employer as a lump sum and covers 12 weeks per employee.

    If you're not working

    Your employer should try their hardest to pay you at least 80% of your usual wages. If that isn't possible, they will pay at least the subsidy rate (ie, full-time or part-time).

    If your usual wages are less than the subsidy, your employer will pay you your usual wages.

    It's paid to you as part of your normal wages so you'll still need to pay tax on it, eg PAYE, Student Loan, Kiwisaver, and Child Support.

    If you're working

    Your employer should pay you in accordance with your employment agreement. Your hours of work and hourly rate can only be changed with your agreement.

    For information or questions on employment law, contact Employment NZ on 0800 20 90 20 or visit their website.

  • You've been made redundant

    If you're made redundant during the subsidy period, your employer can use the Wage Subsidy to pay you any notice period arising from the redundancy.

  • Check if your employer has applied for the Wage Subsidy

    You can see if your employer has received the wage subsidy on the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Wage Subsidy Employer Search.

    You can also ask MSD to check if any employer has applied for a Wage Subsidy for you.

    If you believe your employer is receiving the subsidy, but not meeting the conditions they agreed to, your first step is to talk to your employer. If the issue is not resolved, you can make a complaint to Employment New Zealand.

  • Employment law

    Regular employment law applies to all employment relationships - regardless of the circumstances that we find ourselves in. This includes anything that has been agreed to in your employment agreement (including how your employer pays you).

    For information or questions on employment law, contact Employment NZ on 0800 20 90 20 or visit their website.

  • Employer complaints

    If you have a complaint because you think your employer is breaching any of their minimum employment obligations to you, you can contact Employment NZ: