Helpful Covid-19 Resources

04 June 2020

unite logo english3This page brings together all official resources to support business relating to Covid-19 (novel coronavirus) which have been made available.  This page is updated regularly. 


Workplace operations at covid-19 alert levels

NZ Government Website - 

This website has everything you need to know about Covid-19 in one place.  Learn the simple steps you can take to unite against the virus and slow its spread.  Find out what help is available and get the latest updates.

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) Website

Government website which provides guidance and support to the public as part of the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.  Free Call Number: 0508 377 388

The Work and Income COVID-19 Employers Helpline number is 0800 778 008.

If anyone in your team are not well, they can call the Coronavirus Healthline 0800 358 5453.


1. Wage and Leave Subsidy (15 May 2020)

A Wage Subsidy Extension payment will be available to support employers, including sole traders, who are still significantly impacted by COVID-19 after the Wage Subsidy ends.  The Wage Subsidy Extension will be available from 10 June 2020 until 1 September 2020 so employers can keep paying their employees.  You can't apply for the Wage Subsidy Extension for an employee until their 12 week Wage Subsidy has finished.  Applications open from 10 June 2020.  You can find out more here.

The wage subsidy now includes Directors/shareholders who have not been taking a salary. If they are working in their business – they can now apply for the wage subsidy. The WINZ guidance has been updated here under the section on Shareholders. (15 April 2020)

The Wage Subsidy Scheme is to provide financial support to employers affected by covid-19.  Work & Income have a wage subsidy available to support employers affected by covid-19, which you can find here.

Enquiries: 0800 408 040  

MSD is looking after the processing of the covid-19 payments, and you can find out how they can help here.

Wage and leave subsidy Questions & Answers from BusinessNZ

Links to Wage Subsidy and Leave Payment Application forms

Employer application form and Self employed/contractor form 

2. Alert Level checklists

Alert Level 2 checklists (7 May 2020)

We have more information on our website on what this means for you here, along with the Government Alert Levels and Level 2 summaries.

Alert Level 3 checklist - retiring to work

The checklist here is designed to be used in conjunction with the accompanying quick guide Business expectations moving into Alert Level 3. 

Moving from Alert Level 4 to Level 3

At Level 3, any business will be able to operate as long as they comply with Level 3 criteria and all obligations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.  You can find out more about moving from Level 4 to Level 3 here.

Workplace operations Covid-19 alert levels

New guidance has been released about workplace activities at different alert levels.  Information addresses some frequently asked questions as well as examples of what each alert level might look like for different kinds of businesses.  The Workplace operations at Covid-19 alert levels are now available here.

3. Webinars/Podcasts

Moving to Alert Level 3 webinar (21 April 2020) - with Paul MacKay, Manager Employment Relations Policy and Paul Jarvie the Manager Employment Relations and Safety from the EMA.  You can listen to the webinar here.

An immigration briefing from ImmigrationNZ and BusinessNZ (2 April 2020), along with an introduction by Minister Iain Lees-Galloway, you can access here.

OSEA and Polson Higgs business Covid-19 webinar (31 March 2020), with our Senior Solicitor, David Browne and Polson Higgs Partner, Henry van Dyk.  They spoke about the implications on employment relations and the likely financial impact on business and business continuity planning. You can access the webinar here.

The EMA in partnership with ATEED and the Regional Business Partner Network has also launched a free web series.

BusinessNZ has launched the Update podcast to give you the essential business news you need direct from the source for frequent updates from host Grant Walker relevant to your business.

4. Business Support

NZ covid tracer app - Ministry of Health (25 May 2020)

To stop the spread of covid-19, it is important to quickly trace the contacts of anyone who has been exposed.  You can also get the QR code posters for your business.  You can find out more information here.

Institute of Organisational Psychology resources (25 May 2020)

Jonathan Black, one of our training facilitators - has been working with colleagues from the Institute of Organisational Psychology putting together resources which are targeted at business owners and senior leaders.  There are a wide range of resources which are free including: Leading through disruption; right-sizing your business; and resettling your business. Find out more here.

Contact tracing requirements (15 May 2020)

Worksafe has some more information on contact tracing requirements for business.

Small business cashflow loan scheme (15 May 2020)

The interest free loans are for a year for small businesses impacted by the covid-19 economic shock to support immediate cashflow needs and meet fixed costs.  The scheme will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to firms employing 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees.  The scheme will provide $10,000 to every firm and in addition $1,800 per equivalent full-time employee.  Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within a year and open on 12 May and close on 12 June.  You can find out more here.

Business Support Resource Pack (May 2020)

To help with the transition to Alert Levels, we have a free member Business Support Resource Pack, from the EMA who is part of our BusinessNZ Network.  This has a number of resources and templates to cover everything you need to support your business through the transitions in Alert Levels.  This is available to non-members at $295 plus GST.

The Manufacturers Network and the EMA from the BusinessNZ network have been working on these covid-19 safe work practices under cover-19 alert level 3 for manufacturers not registered with MPI.  The guiding principle for this is that all businesses tailor the principles of disease control for their specific circumstances.  You can find out more here.  Here are some helpful tips for the manufacturing industries.

The Affiliated Industries Group (AIG) through BusinessNZ have brought together a number of industry organisations Alert Level 3 guidelines for their members.  This is provided to assist business sector approaches best suited to their circumstances.  You can find these guidelines here.

Personal protective equipment (24 April 2020)

You can find out more information on PPE, where it is available, and who needs to use it.  There is more information here.

Contact tracing - requirements for business (24 April 2020)

Businesses are asked to record the contact details of everyone who enters their workplace.  This helps you with what information you need and how it should be recorded.  It also summarises what Government requires.  Please read more here.

Covid-19 Work Safe Plan (24 April 2020)

The WorkSafe website has general and sector specific guidance that will help businesses determine how they can operate safely.  As a part of this, businesses are required to complete a Covid-19 Work Safe Plan which has had staff input and is shared with staff. 

5. Government announcements

Sport New Zealand cover fund (7 May 2020)

If you are an affiliated sports regional organisation or club, you could be eligible for financial support through the community resilience fund to help you to remain financially viable through covid-19.  Clubs can apply for $1,000 support, and regional sports organisations up to $40,000.  You can find out more here, or speak to Sport Otago or Sport Southland who are processing the applications from 11 May.

Immigration Bill (4 May 2020)

A Bill to temporarily amend immigration legislation to support the quick and efficient management of visa changes during COVID-19 is being introduced to Parliament on 5 May.  The Bill proposes to introduce eight key legislative changes that will enable visa conditions and settings to be made by the Immigration Minister.  As the Bill is going through an accelerated process, we will be providing feedback through the BusinessNZ network.  You can find out more here.

Fast tracking resource consents (3 May 2020)

The Government has announced that they are fast-tracking resource consents under the Resource Management Act for critical infrastructure and development projects.  The Minister for the Environment, David Parker has announced this to better enable economic recovery from covid-19.  The temporary amendments to the Act will be made in June.  You can read more here.

Cashflow support for small businesses (1 May 2020)

The Government is providing interest free loans for a year to small businesses impacted by the covid-19 economic shock to support immediate cashflow needs and meet fixed costs.  The scheme will provide assistance of up to $100,000 to firms employing 50 or fewer full time equivalent employees.  The scheme will provide $10,000 to every firm and in addition $1,800 per equivalent full-time employee.  Loans will be interest free if they are paid back within a year and open on 12 May. You can find out more here.

ACC levies delay (17 April 2020)

The ACC is delaying invoicing by three months to help businesses cope with the impact of Covid-19.  Invoices for ACC levies in the 2020/21 financial year will now be sent out in October instead of July.  You can read more here.

Business package welcome but SMEs may need more (15 April 2020)

Ministers the Hon Grant Robertson, Andrew Little and Stuart Nash have announced a suite of new measures to provide relief for small and medium-sized businesses during the cover-19 pandemic.  These include a tax loss carry back scheme, changes to the tax loss continuity rules, business consultancy support, greater flexibility for businesses to meet their tax obligations and measures to support commercial tenants and landlords.  You can read more here.

Frequently asked questions on employment and business issues (14 April 2020)

The EMA which is part of our network is regularly updating frequently asked questions on employment and business issues around the covid-19.  You can find this document here.

Companies Act Changes (3 April 2020)

Finance Minister Grant Robertson has announced legislation to make changes to the Companies Act to help companies facing insolvency due to covid-19 to help them to remain viable and to keep New Zealanders in jobs.  These are temporary changes.

Business Finance Guarantee - applications open (1 April 2020)

Businesses can start applying to their banks for loans under the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme set up to support the NZ economy during the covid-19 pandemic.

Transport construction industry advance payments (1 April 2020)

The Transport Minister Phil Twyford announced that advance payments will be made to transport construction industry contractors to retain the workforce and ensure it is ready to quickly gear up to build projects which will be vital to New Zealand's COVID-19 economic recovery.

IRD Update - tax matters (31 March 2020)

Inland Revenue will write-off any penalties and interest for businesses unable to pay taxes on time due to the impact of COVID-19.  Learn more.

Employer wage subsidy update (28 March 2020)

The Minister of Finance has clarified that the changes to the wage subsidy scheme mean that employers should be passing on the full subsidy to workers, except in the case where the person's normal income is less than the level of the subsidy.

Please refer to the website and work and income website for the most current updates.

Financial support package (24 March 2020)

The Minister of Finance announced a range of financial support interventions including a $6.25 billion Business Finance Guarantee Scheme for small and medium-sized businesses, to protect jobs and support the economy through this unprecedented time.  The scheme will include a limit of $500,000 per loan and will apply to firms with a turnover of between $250,000 and $80 million per annum.  Read more.

Government economic response package Factsheet by BusinessNZ (17 March 2020)

The Income Support Factsheet is to provide clarity around the three main changes to welfare which were announced as part of the Government Economic Response Package.

Business Cashflow and Tax Measures Factsheet

The purpose of the Business Cashflow and Tax Measures Factsheet is to provide guidance to those who own commercial and/or industrial buildings on how the Government Economic Response Package will effect them.

Facebook/Linkedin Group

You are also invited to sign up to a closed Facebook group from our NZ wide network for members to share experiences, advice and issues around coronavirus.  The group now has 1,500 members and is becoming a key channel of communication for NZ businesses seeking to manage this risk.

There is also a private LinkedIn group for manufacturers from our NZ wide network titled NZ Manufacturers Network

6. Essential Business

A list of the essential businesses:

Essential businesses provide the necessities of life.  You can find the list here of these businesses.  You can also read a Question & Answer on this for business. 

Essential services in the transport sector (25 March 2020):

This information provides an explanation of those businesses and their workers, carrying out essential services in the transport sector who will not be subject to travel restrictions.

Check if you are able to operate as an essential business: MBIE: 0508 373-388. 

7. Migrant Workers

Immigration NZ announce relaxed visa conditions for essential services (16 April 2020)

The Government has agreed to relax visa conditions for a short period to allow temporary migrant workers and international students to further assist with our essential services during the COVID-19 response, says Immigration New Zealand.  You can find out more here.

Immigration NZ FAQs (15 April 2020)

Immigration NZ are working on how we will operate under alert level 3, with health and safety a prime consideration.  Here are some useful FAQs on relaxing visa conditions, exceptions for people to travel to NZ, extensions of visas under epidemic management notice, visa flexibility, deferral of visa programmes, and general travel for migrants. You can read more here.

Temporary visas can be extended (25 March 2020): 

  • If a workers temporary visa expires on or before 1 April 2020 and between 2 April and 9 July 2020

All INZ’s overseas and on-shore offices are now closed due to the escalation to Alert Level 4.  Reduced staff in NZ are prioritising urgent tasks.  No other visa applications can be processed at this time.

Urgent immigration queries only: 0508 225 288

Immigration New Zealand Factsheets

These factsheets summarise the immigration issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

8. General

MSD new online free recruitment tool (6 May 2020)

The new online recruitment tool connects employers with people looking for work.  Employers are able to list jobs on the platform and anyone looking for work can register and apply for them directly.  It’s a free service, linking employers directly with people looking for jobs.  The tool can be accessed here.  The Ministers release is here.

Managing coronavirus risk in the workplace

A full check-list managing coronavirus risk in the workplace.

Working from Home Policy

View the working from home policy from the EMA here.

Health & Safety at work - advice for essential businesses

Worksafe have some advice for safe work practices to limit exposure to covid-19 at work for essential businesses.

Covid-19 Workplace & Scenario Guideline

This guideline provides steps and scenarios for both employers and employees to help keep their work environment safe during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Disruption Planning for Employers

This CECC guide provides a comprehensive plan to support employers through disruption from major environmental or economic events.

An update from Prof Phillip Hill, Specialist Infectious Disease Physician on Covid-19

If you would like to find out more about the coronavirus, you can listen to Professor Philip Hill who is the McAuley Professor of International Health at the University of Otago. Philip is also a specialist infectious diseases physician.

How to lead (and participate) in successful remote meetings

Rachel Garrett 22 March 2020

The Regional Business Partner Network 

The Regional Business Partner Network Growth Advisors take a birds-eye look at your whole business, then help you connect with the right resources and experts so you can build capability and grow.

Please call to talk with your Growth Adviser:

Otago – Tara Druce: or 021 216-6543

Southland: or 03 211 1400 

Great South contact: Ben Lewis, GM Business Services,

9. International Trade

NZTE marketplace

NZTE have launched a resource-sharing platform for businesses to connect with other NZ businesses that may need to have extra resource at this time.  This is for urgent or timely requests or offers that have come about due to the disruption in the businesses supply chain, and is organised into sector/solution forums such as freight, temporary storage, supplies, business services and staff availability.

How to operate safely in a covid-19 environment

The Meat Industry Association has created some guidelines to their members on how to operate safely in a covid-19 environment which can be found here.

The primary industries

The Ministry for Primary Industries has asked for assurances from industries and businesses that their processes protect workers and the public by limiting interactions and reducing the potential spread of COVID-19.  Read more.

Air Freight update

The Government has allocated $330m out of the covid-19 relief package to support air freight capacity.

Air New Zealand is now operating international freight services.  These flights are operated on a charter basis, co-ordinated by NZTE.  Read more.  Other proposals are also being considered from other airlines and air freighters.

Air Freight Service Update

Please see this resource for an overview of carrier schedule changes to/from New Zealand due to COVID-19.

NZ Trade with China (StatsNZ)

StatsNZ has released provisional indications around the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on New Zealand trade with China.  This webpage presents New Zealand’s daily export trade with China from 27 January 2020 and compares 2020 values with those from previous years, to show the potential impacts of Covid-19 since its outbreak in late 2019.


If you need any assistance, please talk with our lawyers

David Browne | Senior Solicitor/Legal Team Manager | 03 456 1812 | 021 225 6938 |

Adam Siwerski | Solicitor | 03 456 1809 | 021 756 809 |

Stu Adamson | Solicitor | 021 197 4603 | 

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