Restaurant Association Update – July 7

Restaurant Association members may have heard that the government has announced that they won’t be looking to extend the Wage Subsidy further. This falls short of the current needs of the industry and is a point that the association will certainly continue to advocate for members on, particularly while trade is restricted because of the continued border closure.

Unfortunately, this means that wage subsidies will start ending in August (depending on when it was applied for). There are two continuing schemes: For employees that lose their job before 30 October the COVID-19 Income Relief Payment, of $490 per week (tax free), for 12 weeks, is available. And for employers, the Small Business Loans Scheme has been extended until the end of the year. The details of the loan scheme are:

Govt's Small Business Loans Scheme:

  • Loans are interest-free if repaid within a year.
  • After one year the interest rate is 3 per cent.
  • Repayments are not required for the first two years.
  • Firms employing 50 or fewer staff and who were eligible for the original wage subsidy can apply.
  • The loan amount is $10,000 plus $1800 per equivalent full-time employee, up to a maximum amount of $100,000.

The Restaurant Association is asking for the Government to continue to consider the needs of the industry as it focuses on the recovery of the sector. The Restaurant Association’s priorities are outlined in its 2020 Election Manifesto.

2020 Election Manifesto: A Hospitality Sector Fit For the Future

The single most important issue for the Restaurant Association in Election 2020 is the hospitality sector’s recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. The association is calling on the next Government to work with it to create a concise pathway for rebuilding and repositioning the sector for the future.

The Restaurant Association would like feedback from the industry on its draft document which can be read here.

Parental Leave

On 1 July, government paid parental leave in New Zealand increased from 22 weeks to 26 weeks and rose by $20 a week.

Parents with children due on or after July 1 are now eligible for 26 weeks – a full six months – of leave. Before then, paid parental leave was just 18 weeks. That rose to 22 weeks on July 1, 2018, and finally to 26 weeks on 1 July 2020.

In addition, from 1 July 2020, keeping in touch days will increase from 52 to 64 hours. Employees on parental leave will be able to work up to 64 hours without losing their entitlement to paid parental leave. This change will help support workers stay in contact with their employer for longer while receiving paid parental leave. Employees can attend team days, training, and perform other work during keeping in touch days.

Immigration Update - Information for Offshore Applicants

The New Zealand border remains closed to all but New Zealand citizens and residents. There are a limited number of exceptions, but the majority of people do not meet the current strict border restrictions.

While INZ will not be able to grant any visas while the border restrictions are in place, they are looking to start processing a limited number of offshore applications. This will help reduce the backlog of applications waiting to be processed when the border restrictions are lifted.

Unfortunately, the bar for being granted an exception to the border restrictions is very high and people who are not New Zealand citizens or residents are unlikely to meet entry requirements as a result of the border restrictions.

The Restaurant Association will keep members updated as more information is available.