The $350 payment to employers to pay workers who need to self-isolate while awaiting a test but can't work from home kicks off tomorrow.
The new Short-term Absence Payment (STAP), announced in December, also supports people who have a dependent who needs to stay home.
The one-off payment will be available through the Ministry of Social Development and is an extension of the Leave Support Scheme which is still available.
Minister for Workplace Relations Michael Wood said the STAP could also be used to cover the cost of a worker's sick leave if they're feeling unwell but don't have any sick leave.
"We've listened to businesses and workers alike who said we needed a way to support businesses to help workers stay home if they're getting tested."
How does the Short-term Absence Payment work?
If the employee requiring to self-isolate has taken their entitled sick leave to do so, the employer must use the $350 to pay the worker their normal salary or wages.
If the staff member has used up all their sick leave, the employer should try top up the $350 payment to the worker's normal wages or at the very least pay the absence payment on to the worker in full.
Workers aren't required to have used any or all of their paid leave entitlements before their employer applies for the Short-Term Absence Payment on their behalf.
If an employee's usual wages are less than or equal to the Short-Term Absence Payment, the business must pay the worker their usual wages. Any difference should be used to help pay any other affected staff.
In order to get the payment businesses must sign a declaration they meet the criteria and a business can only apply once in a 30-day period for each individual worker unless medical advice dictates otherwise.
The Covid-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for:
- businesses (including registered businesses, sole traders, self-employed people, registered charities, incorporated societies, non-government organisations, or post settlement governance entities) in New Zealand that employ and pay the workers named in their application.
- businesses using a range of employment types, including fulltime, part-time, casual, fixed-term contracts.
Businesses can apply on behalf of workers who can't work from home and are:
- staying home while they wait for Covid-19 test results.
- the parent or caregiver of a dependant who is staying home while waiting for their Covid-19 test results.
- someone who has been told to self-isolate by a health official or doctor because they're a household member or secondary contact while they await a close contact's test results.