Your obligations for COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme

Your obligations when you receive the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme and under employment law.

Your obligations and repayment responsibilities are in the declaration you agreed to when you applied.

Your obligations for the use of the payment are the same, regardless of which declaration you agreed to and when you applied.

Obligations for the current Leave Support Scheme

These are the obligations you have if you applied for the Leave Support Scheme on or after 12am on 14 March 2022.

There are some differences between these obligations and the obligations in previous declarations before 14 March 2022. It is important that you meet the obligations in the declaration relevant to your application.

Paying your employees

You must pay your employees any amount required by the employment agreement and employment legislation. The Leave Support Scheme requirements do not remove or reduce this obligation.

You must use your best efforts to pay the employee named in your application their normal wages, or at least 80% of their usual pay. If that isn't possible, you need to pay at least the Leave Support Scheme payment rate (ie full-time or part-time).

If you can't pay your employees their usual wages, then any reduction in wages or agreed hours of work requires good faith consultation and written agreement in line with existing employment law – you can’t change an employment agreement without the written agreement of your employee

If your employee's usual wages are less than the Leave Support Scheme, you must pay them at least their usual wages. Any difference should be used for the wages of other affected staff - the Leave Support Scheme is designed to keep your employees connected to you.

If you are applying for the Leave Support Scheme based on your employee’s average hours there are further obligations that apply. It is important you read the declaration to understand what this means for you.

Visit the Employment NZ website for information about employment law.

Retaining your employees

You must keep any employees you get the Leave Support Scheme for in their jobs for the period of the payment, unless the employee voluntarily leaves their job.

Retaining evidence

You need to prepare and retain evidence that shows your employees (or you, if you are self-employed) were self-isolating for at least 4 consecutive days because could not work from home and also meet the eligibility criteria.

Evidence can include things like:

  • employee leave records (to show employees were not working at this time)
  • communications to customers from someone who is self-employed to advise they are self-isolating and aren’t operating their business at this time
  • notifications from an official source (eg Ministry of Health) that a self-employed person was required to self-isolate
  • other information that a self-employed person has available to show they were advised to self-isolate (eg medical certificate from their GP).

We may ask to see this evidence.

Repaying money you’re not entitled to

If your employee's usual wages are less than the Leave Support Scheme, you must pay them their usual wages. Any difference should be used for the wages of other affected staff - the Leave Support Scheme is designed to keep your employees connected to you. If you have no other affected staff you’ll need to repay the surplus to us.

If you’re self-employed and the income you get from your business is less than the subsidy amount you received, you’ll need to repay the surplus to us.

Follow employment law

Regular employment law applies to all employment relationships - regardless of the circumstances that we find ourselves in. This includes anything that has been agreed to in an employment agreement.

For information on your obligations under employment law, contact Employment NZ on 0800 20 90 20 or visit their website. For example, you might have questions about:

  • employer contributions to KiwiSaver
  • holiday pay
  • annual leave.