COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is available to employers, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who have been advised to self-isolate because of COVID-19 and can’t work at home during that period.

Workers may also be eligible if they need to support a dependent (eg children or a family member with a disability) who has to stay home because they’re waiting on a COVID-19 test result.

The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is paid at the rate of:

  • $600.00 a week for full-time workers who were working 20 hours or more a week.
  • $359 a week for part-time workers who were working less than 20 hours a week.

To be eligible for a one-week payment of Leave Support Scheme your employee will have been advised to self-isolate for at least four consecutive calendar days.

If your employee needs to keep self-isolating for at least 11 calendar days or more and can’t work from home, you can apply for a second week payment of the Leave Support Scheme.

You can apply for third and subsequent Leave support payments for every further seven days of self-isolation.

Scenario:

Sarah works for a supermarket. Sarah is contacted by the National Investigation and Tracing Centre and advised to self-isolate, as she is a close contact of a person who has COVID-19. Sarah advises her employer she has been advised to self-isolate for at least four consecutive calendar days.

Payroll Processing

Sarah has three shifts that were rostered in the four-day period she now has to self-isolate for. She has sick leave available to use.

The employer pays here for her three days sick leave at her relevant daily pay in accordance with employment law.

Example:

RDP is $20 per hour x 8 hours (rostered shifts for each workday) = $160.00 gross pay, per day

$480.00 gross pay for three days sick leave

All other obligations under employment law remain.

Subsidy Income

The employer determines they can apply for the Leave Support Scheme to help pay Sarah for her three days off as sick leave. The employer is not currently receiving any other payments for Sarah under the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy 2021 Scheme, the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme or the COVID-19 Short-term Absence Payment. The employer must obtain Sarah’s consent to share her information onto the Ministry of Social Development and other agencies in order to apply for the payment.

The employer applies for the subsidy and receives $600.00 to help towards the payroll cost of Sarah’s three sick leave days. (The subsidy payment is exempt from GST). As the funds received exceed the gross pay made to Sarah, the employer must repay any amount that cannot be used to support paying and retaining other affected staff.

Declaration

Please ensure you read and understand the declaration you make when applying for this subsidy.  Leave Support Scheme declaration

Under the Leave Support Scheme, an employer must make their best endeavours to pay employees at least 80% of their normal wages or salary, but never less than the minimum wage. Under employment law, employees must be paid for each and every hour that they work at their agreed wage rate. Any change to their normal hours or pay rate requires good faith consultation and signed written agreement.

Employers are required to pass on at least the full value of the relevant subsidy rate ($585.80 a week for full-time employees and $350 a week for part-time employees) except where the employee’s normal wages are less than the relevant subsidy rate. In this case, the employee should be paid their normal wages and employers can use any excess subsidy to help pay the wages of other affected employees.

More information about the wage subsidy schemes and the Leave Support Scheme is available on the Work and Income website.

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Information is correct at time of publishing and is of a general nature.  Professional advice from your business partners should be sought. 

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