Covid-19 Support for Employers

Updated: Jan 27


If you are an employer who has an employee/employees who need to self isolate due to COVID-19 there are 2 options available for financial support to help you pay them during their isolation:

  • The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment - for employees who need to self-isolate while waiting for test results, or

  • The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme - for employees who need to self-isolate due to a positive COVID-19 test.

COVID-19 Short-Term absence payment

This payment is available for businesses to help pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.


In a nutshell:

  • It's a one off payment of $359 for each eligible worker.

  • You can only apply for it once for each eligible employee within a 30 day period (unless a health official or doctor directs the employee to get another test).

If your worker has a positive COVID-19 test, you can then apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to help pay their wages.


Paying staff:

Where your employee wouldn’t otherwise have an entitlement to be paid if they are not able to work (eg if a worker has used up their paid sick leave so would be on unpaid leave) you:

  • should try to pay your worker as if they had worked that day, or

  • where this is not possible, you must pay at least the full amount of the Short-Term Absence Payment to the employee while they are waiting for the relevant test.

If your employee’s usual wages are less than or equal to the Short-Term Absence Payment, you must pay the worker their usual wages. Any difference should be used to help pay any other affected staff.


COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is a weekly payment to help employers pay their employees who have been advised to self isolate because of COVID-19.


The Scheme is paid at a rate of:

  • $600.00 a week for full time workers (20 hours or more per week)

  • $359.00 per week for part time workers (less than 20 hours per week)

To be eligible, employees must:

  • Have been directed to self-isolate for at least 4 consecutive days by a medical officer, medical practitioner

  • Be unable to work from home

Paying staff:

You must try your hardest to pay the employee named in your application their normal wages, or at least 80% of their usual pay. If that isn't possible, you need to pay at least the Leave Support Scheme payment rate (ie, full-time or part-time).

If you can't pay your employees their usual wages, then any reduction in wages or agreed hours of work requires good faith consultation and written agreement in line with existing employment law.

If your employee's usual wages are less than the Leave Support Scheme, you must pay them their usual wages. Any difference should be used for the wages of other affected staff - the Leave Support Scheme is designed to keep your employees connected to you.


For more information, get in touch with us, or head to https://www.workandincome.govt.nz/covid-19/index.html to learn more and/or apply for support.

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