Flexi-wage for self-employment

If you’re out of work and want to start your own business, we may be able to support you and help with costs while you get started. Flexi-wage Self-employment now provides more support for New Zealanders seeking work.

If you don't have a business plan, we can talk with you about your business idea and how to create a plan. We need to make sure that your business is viable before we can consider any assistance. We may be able to put you in touch with a business expert to help progress your ideas. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment also has information about creating a business plan.

  • Who can get it

    You may be able to get Flexi-wage for self-employment if you're:

    • out of work, and
    • aged 18 or older and not qualified to receive NZ Super, and
    • disadvantaged in the local labour market, and
    • at risk of likelihood of long-term benefit dependency (this usually means you’re getting a benefit or you qualify for one), and
    • able to meet the residency criteria.

    To meet the residency criteria you need to be ordinarily resident in New Zealand and either:

    • a New Zealand citizen
    • a resident with a residence class visa
    • recognised as a refugee or protected person, or
    • have a temporary visa that allows you to work in New Zealand and either:
      • have applied to be recognised as a refugee or protected person and are waiting on the outcome, or
      • have applied for a residence class visa and are compelled to stay in New Zealand because of unforeseen circumstances.

    Disadvantaged in the labour market means you have, or are expected to have, difficulty in getting or keeping a job. For example, you might have barriers to employment such as lack of education and training.

    You also need to be:

    • interested in starting a new business, or
    • in the early stages of developing a business and you’re not able to be self-sufficient.

    Who can't get it

    You won't be able to get Flexi-wage for self-employment if you're:

    • re-starting a business that you've owned before, or
    • already running an established business that is struggling financially, or
    • currently bankrupt.
  • What you can get

    Flexi-wage Self-employment will include $600 a week over 28 weeks, totalling $16,800 (can be pro-rated for those pursuing self-employment part-time who do not have full-time work obligations).

    You may be able to get a Business Training and Advice Grant of up to $5,000. This can help you with developing a business plan and/or training in business skills, advice and project reports.

    If you’re moving into self-employment, you may also be able to access up to $10,000 to help with business start-up costs through the Self-Employment start up payment.

  • How to find out more

    If you want to enquire about your self-employment needs, complete this form and we’ll get in touch with you.

    We'll aim to contact you within 5 working days.

  • What happens next

    We'll talk with you about your business idea, your needs and what type of help we may be able to offer. If you have a business plan, you'll need to share this with us.

    When we talk with you, we'll:

    • ask you about your business
    • talk with you about:
      • how to create a business plan, or offer support if you don't already have one
      • a Business Training and Advice Grant and how this may be able to help.

    We then send your business plan away to get independently assessed to make sure the business is potentially viable.

    We'll let you know the outcome, and if it's approved we'll send you a contract.

    To get Flexi-wage underway, you'll need to complete the contract and email it back to us along with evidence of your bank account number.

    You'll be paid once the contract has been processed.

  • If you get the subsidy


    • contact you regularly to see how things are going
    • send you four weekly claim forms for the Flexi-wage subsidy over the period of the contract.

    We'll make sure you know how to make a claim each month.

    Mid-project financial report

    You'll also need to provide a mid-project financial report within the first 12-20 weeks. The report needs to outline things like:

    • productivity levels (for example, the amount of work or items manufactured)
    • actual cash flow
    • a comparison of performance against the original business plan
    • cash flow expectations for at least the next 6 months.


    • let you know when we need this and who to send it to
    • send the report to an independent vetting agent
    • let you know the outcome.