It’s important people are encouraged to stay home and not go to work if they are unwell, with the new Covid-19 case in Auckland a reminder to everyone that we need to follow all measures to stop the spread of the virus. If an employee has COVID-like symptoms, they should stay home and get tested.
The Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme is available for employees who are told by a health official to self-isolate and who cannot work from home. The scheme helps employers to pay workers who’ve been told to self-isolate.
What health criteria must workers meet?
This payment is for workers who can’t work from home and:
- are sick with COVID-19 and must self-isolate for a period, or
- are identified as someone who has or may have been in contact with someone who has COVID-19 and must self-isolate for a period, eg:
- a close contact who has been told to self-isolate by a health official through the contact tracing process
- someone with COVID-like symptoms who meets the Ministry of Health’s Higher Index of Suspicion criteria and has been told to self-isolate by a doctor
- casual contacts who have been told to self-isolate by a health official through the contact tracing process, or
- are the parent or caregiver of a dependant who has been told to self-isolate for a period and the dependant needs support to do so safely, or
- are sick with COVID-like symptoms and work in a health and disability or aged-care facility or service and need to self-isolate while awaiting a test or test result (note there are other criteria the employer will need to meet), or
- are considered ‘higher risk’ if they contract COVID-19 and a doctor has told them to self-isolate while there’s active community transmission, or
- have household members who are considered ‘higher risk’ if they contract COVID-19 and a doctor has told them to self-isolate while there is active community transmission.
Who decides if a worker needs to self-isolate?
The worker must have been told to self-isolate by a health official, such as:
- a Medical Officer of Health or their delegate (eg a DHB Public Health Unit)
- a medical practitioner, for example, a doctor (GP)
- a health official through the Ministry of Health’s National Contact Tracing process
- their employer (for healthcare, disability or aged-care workers) following best practice guidance from the Ministry of Health.
What the Leave Support Scheme provides
Leave Support is for businesses to help pay workers (including self-employed) told to self-isolate because of COVID-19. It’s paid as a lump sum and covers two weeks per eligible employee at the rates of:
- $585.80 for each employee working 20 hours or more per week
- $350 foreach employee working less than 20 hours per week.
You can keep re-applying for the same employee as long as you meet the criteria and the payment is available.
Am I eligible?
To receive Leave Support payments, your business must:
- be registered (except sole-traders) and operating in New Zealand
- employ people legally working in New Zealand.
What are my obligations?
You must pay your employees in line with their employment agreement and your obligations to employment legislation remain. You must pass on all of the Leave Support you apply for to those workers.
How do I find out more?
If your employee doesn’t qualify for COVID Leave Support, there may be other assistance we can provide. Check here to find out more.