The NZ Government has announced a COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support scheme as one of the measures to assist businesses and employees impacted by COVID-19. Its aim is to assist employees in essential businesses who can’t work because Ministry of Health guidelines recommend that they stay at home and they are unable to work from home.
Details of the scheme can be found at https://workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-essential-workers-leave-support.html#null.
In order to be eligible, the employers must:
- Be classified as an essential service business
- Have had a conversation with the employees about how you can best support them at this time. For example, they may choose to use any sick or discretionary leave they have, instead of getting the Leave Support.
- Not be able to financially support the employee due to the COVID-19 public health restrictions. For example, the cost of paying for the employees' leave and paying for replacement staff is significant.
The employees being claimed for must be an essential service worker who either:
- Is at higher risk if they get COVID-19, and Ministry of Health guidelines recommend that they stay at home while we're in lockdown (and potentially longer)
- Come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and must self-isolate for 14 days (as required by Ministry of Health guidelines)
- Have tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to remain off work until they've been cleared by a health professional to be released from self-isolation, or
- Have household members who are at higher risk if they get COVID-19 and Ministry of Health recommend that the worker also remains at home to reduce the risk to them.
The COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support will be paid at a flat rate of:
- $585.80 for people who were working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate)
- $350.00 for people who were working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate).
It will be paid as a lump sum and covers 4 weeks per employee. (Note that this is different to the Wage Subsidy scheme which pays for 12 weeks). Once the 4 weeks are up the employer can apply again in the 4th week if it is still required.
Employers receiving the COVID-19 Essential Workers Leave Support must try their hardest to pay the employee named in your application at least 80% of their usual wages. If that isn’t possible, the employees need to pay at least the Leave Support payment. Note that if the employee’s usual wages are less than the Leave Support payment then they must be paid their usual wages.
Refer to the Work and Income website https://workandincome.govt.nz/products/a-z-benefits/covid-19-essential-workers-leave-support.html#null for full details and the process to apply for the payment.
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COVID-19, New Zealand, Wage Subsidy scheme, COVID, Essential Workers , KBA , PY-NZ , New Zealand , PA-PA-NZ , New Zealand , How To
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