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Accessing the Covid-19 Wage Subsidy for the Screen Sector

19 Mar 2020 15:24 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

The government has released its initial wage subsidy package for businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

How do SIGANZ members access this and what do they need to provide?

The information says the subsidy is accessible if you are an employer, contractor, sole trader or self-employed.

Here are details of the application process.

Your situation is either:

  • your staff are in self-isolation (or caring for others), or
  • your business's revenue has dropped due to COVID-19

- You can apply online and you will need:

your IRD number
your business name (or just use your name in this field)
business address
the names of your employees
your employee IRD numbers
contact details for your business and your employees

- They will then check if you qualify.

- They may contact you if they need further information regarding your application. 

- They’ll do this by phone.

- If it's:


  • you receive the payment between 2-7 days


  • they’ll notify you

Self-employed (contractor) application form:


We feel most of our members will be operating either:

1. A Registered Company (with one employee)


2. A Sole Trader (Contractor)

Contracting to various Production Companies operating in NZ.

How do I access the Subsidy

To qualify you need to:

1.  Be registered and operating in NZ

  • Registered Company
    • Have a NZBN (New Zealand Business Number) you can find what your is by searching your company here: https://www.nzbn.govt.nz/
  • Sole Trader (Contractor)
  • Have a personal NZ IRD number – and
  • They are working on a level of trust so they are processing payments on the information above. They may look into the information below at the later date
  • Govt licences and permits for their business needs - And
    • If applicable, some will, some won’t. Provide anything you can, but don’t worry if you can’t.
  • Qualifications or registrations for their trade or profession
  • Guild Membership
  • Any other documented qualification that may apply.

2. Be legally working in NZ

  • You need to be a Citizen, Permanent Resident or have a valid work visa.

3. You must have a current or expected 30% decline in revenue over a period of a month compared to the same month last year. 

If you require proof of upcoming contract work we can look at helping with the below suggestions.

  • Have a letter (or email) from an upcoming production or productions you were expecting to be working on as the bulk of your upcoming revenue which states the production has halted due to Covid-19.
  • The Guild is attempting to get letters which we can distribute to members on request from various productions and industry organisations.

4. Must have taken active steps to mitigate the impact of Covid-19. 

  • If you require proof of these steps the guild can provide a letter saying the member has actively approached the guild for advice on mitigating the Covid-19 impacts to fulfil this requirement.

5. Must make best efforts to retain employees

  • This should be straightforward for both sole traders and companies in this situation.

What do I get?

The subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of $585.80 (over 20hrs per week) or $350.00 (under 20hrs per week).

The subsidy is paid in a lump sum and covers 12 weeks.

The MSD information can be accessed here:


Self-employed (Contractor) application form:


Employer Application form:



Wage Subsidy and Leave subsidy

Taxable income for contractor? Wage - No Leave - No
Subsidy attract GST for contractor? No No
When employer pays employee, is the employee subject to tax? Yes Yes (i.e. Employer deducts paye/KS etc when they pay staff as normal but it will be tricky to seperate things in the normal payroll. 
Is the subsidy deductible to employer when paid to employee? No No 

The Screen Industry Guild is the short name for The Screen Industry Guild of Aotearoa New Zealand Incorporated. 

The Screen Industry Guild is supported by its members and the New Zealand Film Commission.

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