National wants government to pay wages of those self-isolating

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Mar 2021, 5:17PM
(Photo / NZ Herald)
(Photo / NZ Herald)

National wants government to pay wages of those self-isolating

Author
RNZ,
Publish Date
Wed, 3 Mar 2021, 5:17PM

The National Party wants the government to pay 100 per cent of a person's wages for two weeks if they have to self-isolate.

All workers would qualify for the scheme, which would be capped at just over $68 an hour, and the money would go straight to the employee not the employer.

Party leader Judith Collins said the current leave support scheme was well below minimum wage and not everyone could afford to self-isolate.

"The 'stay home, save lives' mantra sounds simple enough, but it's not always that easy for people who can't afford to not be working.

"Self-isolation is increasingly becoming a requirement because of the government's failures at the border, yet workers across New Zealand are the ones paying the price," she said.

Covid-19 Response spokesman Chris Bishop said the scheme was modelled on the Compensation for Live Organ Donors Act, where the government pays 100 per cent of the wages for people who take time off from work to donate organs.

"Our scheme is a sensible investment. Lockdowns cost the New Zealand economy $500 million per week in Auckland alone. Avoiding them needs to be our top priority."

He said if self-isolating was made easier there should be tougher penalties for those who did not follow the rules.

Collins told Morning Report the government was not doing enough for people who in many cases were paying $500-$600 a week in rent and were struggling.

"Anything that helps prevent lockdowns is a good thing.

"If someone's working at KFC they're not on enormous amounts of money. They are getting enough to just get by.

"When we look at the realistic situation for many people, they need to be able to pay their bills."

Available support
While you are waiting for the results of a Covid-19 test: The Covid-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their workers who cannot work from home while they wait for a Covid-19 test result. There is a one-off payment of $350 for each eligible worker.

If you are off sick with Covid-19, caring for someone with Covid-19, or have to isolate because of Covid-19: The Covid-19 Leave Support Scheme is available for employers, including self-employed people, to help pay employees who need to self-isolate and can't work from home. It is paid as a lump sum and covers two weeks per eligible employee, up to $1176.60 for people who were working 20 hours or more per week.

text by RNZ