COVID-19 Leave Payment Scheme

Cash top-ups for workers, contractors and the self-employed

A leave payment scheme runs for the next 8 weeks, providing support to businesses with employees, contractors and the self-employed staff unable to work because they are in isolation, or sick, or caring for others with COVID-19. The payment amounts are the same as those for the wage subsidies and can be backdated to 17 March 2020.

This does not affect any paid leave entitlements owed and is available even if an employee is on paid leave for part of the period. It is not available to those who can work from home, and whom their employer can pay normally.

Employers can apply for the leave on behalf of any self-isolating or sick employee. The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) pays employers, who are required to pass it on to affected employees. MSD will pay on a fortnightly basis once it receives an application.

Employees, self-employed, and contractors legally working in New Zealand are eligible. Those who self-isolate must do so in accordance with public health guidance and register with Healthline. Those who went overseas from 16 March 2020 are not eligible for this payment for self-isolation on their return. Workers ill with the virus can only access the scheme for time spent on sick leave from 17 March 2020.