New Leave Scheme for Essential Workers
On 2 April 2020, Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, announced a new scheme for essential workers who are unable to work during the lockdown. This Leave Scheme will be available from Monday 6 April 2020.
Here’s what you need to know:
- The Leave Scheme is for essential businesses that are facing significant loss of business.
- The Scheme will be available for essential workers who are vulnerable, sick, or otherwise unable to work in order to comply with public health guidance. Businesses will be able to apply for the following types of workers:
- Workers who are self-isolating in accordance with public health guidance because they have contracted the virus or have come into contact with someone who has contracted the virus (or have a dependent they need to care for who is sick or self-isolating);
- Workers deemed at higher risk if they contract COVID-19, in accordance with public health guidance, and as such should self-isolate for the duration of the lockdown (and potentially longer);
- Workers who have household members who are deemed at higher risk if they contract COVID-19, in accordance with public health, and as such should self-isolate for the duration of the lockdown (and potentially longer) to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to that household member.
- The amounts for the Leave Scheme will be the same as the Wage Subsidy Scheme:
- $585.80 for people working 20 hours or more per week (full-time rate); or
- $350.00 for people working less than 20 hours per week (part-time rate).
- Employers must still attempt to pay 80% of employees’ usual pay, or the usual pay if that is less than the value of the subsidy.
- Payments will cover four weeks for each affected employee. Employers are able to reapply for further 4-week subsidies at the end of the 4-week period.
- Employees who are on other forms of paid leave e.g. annual leave or sick leave not related to COVID-19, should be paid at their usual rates of pay.
Your business may qualify for government support to help you to continue to pay your employees. For more information please click on the button download.
Saunders & Co Lawyers are available by phone and email to provide legal advice and guidance on a range of matters. For more information and specific legal advice on your employment relations and health and safety obligations please contact the employment team.