Question :
Kia ora We have 3 casual employees for whom we received the part time employee subsidy. We have paid average weekly wages to each of them while at L4 and will pay for hours worked as usual next week under L3. In all cases the funds paid to each of our employee are and will continue to be below the part time subsidy received as their hours/ weekly payment are lower than what is covered. After 12 weeks of using the subsidy are we then required to return the unused portion of the subsidy or are we allowed to keep using it to pay staff wages beyond the 12 week mark? 

Question submitted 23/04/20 @ 05:13am
Industry: Funding & Finance
  • Up

    Kia ora – A very good question to ask, and it appears no payback is required.

    The Employment NZ website says: “Employers must pass the full amount received onto the employee, except where a person’s income is normally less than the subsidy amount (i.e. $250 a week), in which case they can be paid their normal salary. Any difference should be used for the wages of other affected staff – the wage subsidy is designed to keep your employees connected to their employers.”

    There is no specific clarity on what you should do if you have no other employees to pass the difference on to – or whether you can use the money to extend payments for longer than the 12 weeks. If you want to be super-sure, I would encourage you to give MSD a call to explain your specific circumstances and seek their advice.

    Kia kaha, Fiona


    Kia Ora – The unused portion of the subsidy should be used to pay to other affected staff members in the first instance.

    Where there are no other employees, the excess funds should be held and returned to MSD via the following process:

    Email COVID19subsidy_overpayment@msd.govt.nz and include the following details:

    Business name
    IRD number
    New Zealand Business Number (NZBN), if you have one
    Phone number
    Email address
    Postal address
    And advise the amount overpaid and the reason to pay it back.

    I agree with Fiona that before you email MSD, give them a call to confirm.

    Note that wage subsidy funds cannot be used for anything other than the payment of wages to the employees named in your application.

    All the best

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