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Piggy bank wearing a surgical mask

If your income or business has been impacted by Alert Levels 3 and 4, you may be eligible to apply for financial support. As many directors and editors are self-employed, this is an overview of what support is available from the New Zealand Government to help sole traders and the self-employed.


Wage Subsidy August 2021

Self-employed people and sole traders anywhere in New Zealand can apply for the Wage Subsidy Scheme through the Work and Income website if they are eligible. It’s paid as a two-week lump sum to support businesses that have experienced a decline in revenue attributed to the continuation of Alert Levels 3 and 4.

Each round opens for two weeks. Applications for the fourth round, Wage Subsidy August 2021 #4, opened on Friday 1 October and will remain open until 11.59pm on Thursday 14 October.

Resurgence Support Payment (RSP)

The COVID-19 Resurgence Support Payment helps to 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. Sole traders can receive a payment of up to $1,900.

When applications open in MyIR, they will also remain open for one month after all of New Zealand returns to Alert Level 1.

  • Applications for the 1st payment under the alert level increase announced on 17 August are still open.
  • Applications for a 2nd payment under the RSP opened on 17 September.
  • Applications for a 3rd payment will open on 8 October.

Small Business Cash Flow Loan Scheme (SBCS)

The Government will provide loans to small businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, impacted by COVID-19 to support their cash flow needs. Applications are open through myIR until 31 December 2023. This is a loan so you will need to pay it back, but it’s interest free if you pay it within 2 years.

COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

A one-off $359 payment when you cannot work from home and you:

  • need to stay at home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result.
  • need to stay home and look after a dependent child who has been asked to get a COVID-19 test.
  • live with someone who has been at a location of interest and need to stay home while they wait for the person in the household to get a negative test result.

You can apply for it through Work and Income at any time, but cannot be taken while you receiving the Wage Subsidy August 2021 or Leave Support Scheme.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

This scheme provides self-employed people with an income, paid at a flat rate, if they cannot work from home while they’re self-isolating. You need to meet certain criteria to apply.

More information can be found at Work and Income. But note that you can’t get more than one COVID-19 payment at the same time.

Other Support

If you are still having trouble meeting your needs, you might be able to get help from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD). You do not need to be on a benefit to get help with urgent costs, such as medical costs, rent or mortgage payments and utility bills.
Use this tool to check what you might get.

Advice for self-employed people with tax-related concerns:
https://www.ird.govt.nz/covid-19/business-and-organisations/self-employed

 


The above information is provided as an overview guide only based on the COVID-19 financial support tool at www.covid19.govt.nz. Make sure you read the official information provided by IRD, MSD and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to decide which support best suits your personal situation.

Unite against COVID-19

Now that we find ourselves at Level 3 again, the Government has a number of support mechanisms for both independent contractors and businesses that you may be able to apply for.

Businesses (including independent contractors) can again access the Wage Subsidy Scheme. Information on this will be available late today Monday 1 March 2021 on the Work and Income website: www.workandincome.govt.nz. Further information on other financial support is available on the WINZ website here.

The new Resurgence Support Payment information can be found on the Inland Revenue website here.

For anyone wanting to take advantage of the counselling initiative still on offer from the Vista Foundation and Home and Family Counselling, go here.

ScreenSafe has updated its COVID-19 information today. The latest information, guidelines, and resources are available here.

As always, we are available should members require advice, information or assistance, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

Stay safe, be kind.

DEGNZ

View from the Top banner

When you look at the problems besetting the world, with amongst other things COVID-19 still rampant in many countries, the U.S. a powder keg ready to explode and war raging on a number of fronts, it’s hard not to look at little ole New Zealand, steal the Aussie phrase and say, we’re The Lucky Country. And in comparison to Australia’s, we have to say we’re the lucky screen industry.

No matter what your political persuasion, the New Zealand screen sector has been blessed with a prime minister who is also the Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage. In Australia, Scott Morrison’s government abolished the Arts Department (our MCH) in December 2019 and merged it with Transport, Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The Federal Government over there has resisted calls for a nation-wide industry stimulus package. In New Zealand, meanwhile, the response to COVID has been:

  • $7.9 million for Careers Support for Creative Jobseekers
  • $70 million over three years for a Creative Arts Recovery and Employment Fund
  • $60 million over three years for a Cultural Innovation Fund
  • $20 million for a Cultural Capability Fund
  • $16.5 million for a New Zealand Music Recovery Fund
  • $16.5 million top up for New Zealand On Air

All this is in addition to other funding for the Culture and Heritage sector announced in the budget. And we are all waiting with bated breath for a stimulus package that will have funding specifically for the screen sector.

When it comes to screen workers, a high percentage of workers here quickly received the wage subsidy. In Oz, the response was slow and according to a just released Australian Directors Guild survey, nearly 50% of their members do not qualify for the Australian Government’s Job Keeper (Wage Subsidy) or Job Seeker (Unemployment Benefit).

Fingers crossed we have at least contained if not eliminated the Coronavirus. This has allowed our domestic soap, small crew projects and this week, our first film back into production. We have 56 international personnel allowed into the country through a special immigration channel, under managed quarantine at Wellington’s Museum Hotel and ready to kick start Avatar back into life and kick off another still-secret film.

With other international projects also likely to start shortly and NZ On Air expected to fund a considerable amount of drama from the recent round, we could well find ourselves back in the situation we were in at the beginning of the year with a dearth of experienced crew and international productions poaching crew off each other with offers of higher rates. Without a Trans-Tasman bubble in place, we certainly won’t be bringing crew in to fill the high demand here as was happening before.

Australia is also getting ready to swing back into production with their Health & Safety Standard & Protocols just released. However, they are faced with a continued blanket suspension of commercial free-to-air content quotas, which their producers’ organisation, SPA, feels smothers commissioning demand at a time when their industry needs it more than ever.

At the Guild, we are feeling lucky too, as we rapidly return to the new normal. Across the last two months we have been running a considerable number of Zoom and or Facebook Live workshops and sessions because of COVID. But this Friday we are holding our first in-person session with the first of five DEGNZ Emerging Women Filmmakers Incubator workshops for 2020. We do though need your continued support because as an organisation we haven’t escaped unscathed, understandably, with financial membership down because of the pandemic.

With domestic tourism now key to our tourism sector’s survival and location production an important contributor to transport, food and accommodation providers, we have an opportunity to help out and at the same time see how lucky a country we really are.

Tui Ruwhiu
Executive Director

COVID-19 and Your Work Rights

Source: CTU, 29 March 2020

The Council of Trade Unions has today launched an online tool for working Kiwis to identify employers who aren’t doing the right thing during the COVID-19 period.

CTU President Richard Wagstaff is concerned that some employers are not following the law; “We continue to hear really concerning reports of unacceptable behaviour by some employers. I do want to stress that the majority of employers are doing the right thing, they are looking after their employees and following the clear guidance from the government. But unfortunately this is not universally the case.”

“We want to ensure that people are able to tell their stories and log what is happening for them. Due to the number and complexity of problems that a significant number of working people are experiencing, we need to create a register so that these cases can be triaged and addressed.”

“Where we identify there are systematic breaches of employment law will we be raising these with government.”

“Employment law still needs to be adhered to – employers who breach the law need to be held to account.”

There are 6 main areas we are seeing poor behaviour from employers

  1. Dismissals/redundancies
  2. Annual leave/sick leave use
  3. Use of the “wage subsidy”
  4. Changing terms and conditions of employment
  5. Treatment of casual and other precarious working people
  6. Health and safety/essential services

“We strongly encourage anyone who has not been treated fairly to ensure that they log it with us. Together, we will identify whether there are specific employers and industries which need to be urgently communicated with,” Wagstaff said.

Click here for a full-length HD interview with CTU Secretary Melissa Ansell-Bridges as she explains the initiative and why it’s needed.

ENDS

For more information contact:

Richard Wagstaff, CTU President – 027 277 8131

COVID-19 Action Group logo

Anyone who works in events, entertainment, tourism, hospitality and any other industry who has seen their work dry up overnight, you are eligible for a 12 week COVID-19 wage subsidy, as of March 23.

Applications are only open for the next 12 weeks.

Payments are being expedited and should be made within 5 days of application.

Scroll down on the Screen Industry website here for the link to apply.