Weekly Digest – 18 August 2021

Welcome back to our Weekly Digest. Read on for the latest updates and some ideas to help us all move forward.

4 new cases after snap nationwide lockdown

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a nationwide lockdown after the country confirmed a COVID-19 case yesterday– the first locally transmitted coronavirus case in the community since February. Today, four new cases have been reported.

An unvaccinated 58-year-old man in Auckland tested positive for the virus and had traveled to other parts of the country. New Zealand will be under the strictest lockdown level for the next three days starting from 11:59 p.m. Tuesday. Under the level four lockdown, everyone must stay at home and businesses are closed except for essential services.

Auckland and the Coromandel Peninsula will be in lockdown for 7 days.

COVID Support for Businesses Amid Level 4 Lockdown

Businesses impacted financially by this Level 4 lockdown are being offered a range of support measures.

Eligible businesses can claim both a resurgence support payment and the wage subsidy, as well as other payments for workers taking COVID tests or in self-isolation. The resurgence support payment is worth up to $1500 plus $400 per full-time equivalent employee for businesses with up to 50 full-time employees.

Meanwhile, the wage subsidy is now worth $600 per week per full-time equivalent employee, and $359 per week per part-time employee. Other support includes the leave support payment for workers who must self-isolate and can’t work from home. This involves a two-week lump sum payment of either $585.80 per week for full-time workers, or $350 per week for part-time workers.

Finally, there’s the short-term absence payment, which is a one-off payment of $350 for workers who must miss work due to a COVID-19 test and can’t work from home.

NZ to Reopen Borders in 2022

The Prime Minister revealed the country has big plans for its vaccination programme for the rest of this year ahead of reopening its borders in 2022.

Countries will be put into low, medium, and high-risk categories. Under the plan, fully vaccinated travellers from low-risk countries would not be required to quarantine, while those from medium-risk countries would need to complete some form of quarantine. Meanwhile, people from high-risk countries would be required to quarantine for 14 days at a hotel run by the military.

NZ to Trial New COVID-19 Vaccine

New Zealand has been chosen to be part of a late-stage trial for a new European Covid-19 vaccine called VLA2001 vaccine, created by French biotech company Valneva. It has already been trialled on approximately 4000 volunteers in Europe, and the company is now looking for 300 adults older than 56 across NZ.

The New Zealand clinical trial is being managed by PharmaSols and will take place at eight Pacific Research Network sites across the country.

COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment

This is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who cannot work from home while they wait at home for a COVID-19 test result. This is a one-off payment of $350. You can find the details here.

COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

The Leave Support Scheme is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who can’t work from home and meet certain health criteria, eg they have COVID-19 or are a ‘close contact’ who has been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid as a 2-week lump sum per eligible employee.

The Leave Support Scheme is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week
  • $350 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

Find out more about the Leave Support Scheme here.

Small Business Cashflow Scheme Extended Until 2023

The Small Business Cashflow (loan) Scheme has been extended until 31 December 2023.

Organisations and small to medium businesses, including sole traders and the self-employed, may be eligible for a one-off loan with a term of 5 years if they have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

The maximum amount loaned is $10,000 plus $1,800 per full-time-equivalent employee. The annual interest rate will be 3% beginning from the date of the loan being provided. Interest will not be charged if the loan is fully paid back within 2 years.

You can find out more here, or simply get in touch with us so we can provide our professional assistance.

Kiwi Business Boost Tool

The Government has funded specialist consultancy support services to provide advice to businesses who need it. You can use the Kiwi Business Boost Tool to find out what services are available in your region.

The Treasury website’s COVID-19 Economic Response Measures can also provide more information on the range of supports available to businesses.

Training Incentive Allowance to Support 16,000 Kiwis

The Training Incentive Allowance can help with tuition fees, books, childcare, equipment, transport and any additional caring costs while studying. It’s available for courses at levels 1-7 of the NZ Qualifications Framework. Visit the Work and Income website to find out who’s eligible, how much you can get and who can apply.

4 Ways Your Business Can Increase Its ROI in 2022

Finding ways to boost your business’ profit margins can be challenging, especially if you’ve already tried many of the traditional ways of improving the stability of your cash flow during the pandemic. This Forbes article shared some unusual methods to grow your ROI.

  1. Invest in high-performing marketing platforms. Look into platforms that are not as saturated as Facebook, including Youtube and Instagram. You could also switch gears by starting a company podcast.
  2. Automate more tasks. Automate more tasks with the assistance of AI-driven tech and integrations to free up your team’s time and allow them to focus on getting higher level work done.
  3. Unclog your sales pipeline. Sit down with your sales team and outline your customer journeys. Remove stumbling blocks and friction points to improve your sales pipeline and speed up your sales cycle.
  4. Reorganise your team. Switching responsibilities between team members could improve your efficiency and may allow you to keep the same amount of core staff while scaling your business.

Do you need expert advice on your specific situation? Get in touch with us today and let’s work out a plan!

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Contact us if you have any questions or want to discuss the next steps for your business.