The government has made a further adjustment to the rules surrounding the COVID-19 wage subsidies. Previously the requirement was for employers to keep paying staff at least 80% of their incomes in order to qualify for the subsidy. Now the requirement has been adjusted to stipulate that employers must pass on at least the entire subsidy to employees.

Businesses accessing the wage subsidy scheme must still “undertake best endeavours” to pay employees 80% of their pre-COVID-19 income.

However, now businesses that have no activity whatsoever because employees are not working any hours during the Alert 4 lock down, must now pass on at least the whole value of the wage subsidy scheme to each affected worker, if they are unable to match 80% of the worker’s pre-COVID income. This is good news for those many employers who have had to close their businesses or significantly reduce their staff’s hours.

The requirement that employers must keep staff employed for the 12-week subsidy period remains in place.