Payment rates and processing times for COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension

This subsidy has ended, but there's other support you can apply for.


The Wage Subsidy Extension was available from 10 June 2020 to 1 September 2020. It was for employers and self-employed people who would otherwise have had to lay off staff or reduce their hours due to COVID-19.

This payment is no longer available. Find out what other support we offer for businesses.

The subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate)
  • $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate).

The subsidy is paid as a lump sum and covers 8 weeks per employee from the date you submit your application.

Usual wages less than subsidy rate

If your employee's usual wages are less than the subsidy rate, any difference should be used for the wages of other affected staff. If there are no other employees to use the subsidy for, then the remaining Wage Subsidy Extension should be paid back.

If you're self-employed and the income you regularly draw from your business is less than the subsidy amount you receive, you must pay back the remaining amount.

Subsidy rate if hours fluctuate

If you work variable hours (or your employee does), you can use an average to work out what rate to apply for.

How to work it out

Use the average hours worked each week over the last 12 months.

If they (or you) have been working less than a year, use the average hours worked over an 8 week period, unless another period of time would be more appropriate.

For example, if the usual hours are better represented over the whole period of time they (or you) have been employed for, use this instead.

What rate to use

If the average hours are:

  • 20 or more, apply for the full-time rate
  • less than 20, apply for the part-time rate.

Processing times

We're working to pay the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Extension as quickly as we can.

We need to check the information you've given us is the same as what's held by Inland Revenue. If it isn't, there could be a delay.

We cannot give you information about the status of your application over the phone. We'll be in touch as soon as we can.

  • If your application's approved

    Payment should be made into an account within 2 business days of processing.

    We'll email you once the payment has been made. Your bank will use a specific reference - MSD COVID19X

    If you haven't received payment in your account, it may be because we don't have the right bank account number for you. If this is the case, the money will be returned to us and we'll call you.

  • If your application's declined

    We'll email you to let you know.

    It could be declined because:

    • the application was completed by an employee (not the employer)
    • you applied using the wrong application form, or
    • the details you gave us don't match those held by Inland Revenue (IR).

    If you think your details don't match those held with IR, you can check them with IR and apply again with the correct details.

    Otherwise, if you don't agree with our decision to decline your application, your email will tell you how you can get this reviewed.

    If you are a state sector organisation and your application for the Wage Subsidy Extension has been declined, you'll need to contact your monitoring agency to discuss this.