We all need to do what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19, and protect New Zealand.
Employees working in essential businesses will continue to work, but will put in place alternative ways of working to keep employees safe, including shift-based working, staggered meal breaks, flexible leave arrangements and physical distancing.
Essential businesses, and those that support them, will continue to provide the necessities of life for everyone in New Zealand.
This means food, medicine, healthcare, energy, fuel, waste-removal, internet and financial support will continue to be available.
Employees should support their employers by:
New Zealand employers who have been adversely affected by COVID-19 are eligible to apply. This includes:
Employers, contractors, sole traders and the self-employed, may qualify to get the COVID-19 wage subsidy.
The COVID-19 Wage Subsidy will be paid at a flat rate of:
Employers must make best endeavours to pay employees 80% of their normal income. Where that is not possible – in particular where a business has no activity whatsoever due to the shutdown and workers are not working any hours – employers must pass on at least the whole value of the wage subsidy to each affected worker. If a person’s income is normally less than the subsidy, they can be paid that normal salary.
The subsidy is paid as a lump sum to the employer to pass on to employees and covers 12 weeks per employee.
The wage subsidy is a Government payment to help employers pay wages. It does not change any other employment law obligations, meaning employees must be paid appropriately under their employment agreements for the hours they work during the lockdown.
From 3pm on 27 March 2020, the COVID-19 Leave Payment is no longer available for employers. Applications already submitted will continue to be processed and paid.
The Government is working on arrangements for those in essential work who require sick leave due to COVID-19.