On 2 April 2020 the Government established the Essential Workers Leave Support package, which is available from 6 April 2020. Here’s how it works:
The scheme allows essential businesses to pay their employees who cannot work and need to take leave due to COVID-19 Ministry of Health guidelines.
The scheme is focussed on supporting three groups of essential employees:
To be eligible for the scheme employers must:
The leave support package is paid in a lump sum at a flat rate of:
The support package is paid to cover a four week period. There is no limit on the amount of times it can be applied for.
Employers cannot receive both the Wage Subsidy and the Essential Workers Leave Support for the same employee at the same time. Employers are encouraged to apply for the payment that is most appropriate to the employee’s situation.
As part of the application, employers must make the same declaration as they do for the Wage Subsidy. Specifically that they will “not make any changes to obligations under any employment agreement, including to rates of pay, hours of work and leave entitlements, without the written agreement of the relevant employee”.
Employers are still required to obtain the consent (in writing, if practicable) of all employees named in the application for the employer to provide information about them to the Ministry of Social Development as part of the application, among other things, before applying for the support.
Employers are also required to declare that their employee(s) have advised them that they cannot work because they fall into one of the three specific categories outlined above, and the employer is in agreement.
Please contact the Cavell Leitch employment team if you have any questions or concerns relating to employment or the measures introduced by the Government to combat the outbreak of COVID-19.