How to apply for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

Businesses and self-employed people can apply for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment using our online application form.

This payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their eligible employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 PCR test result.


You can't get the Short-Term Absence Payment when you or your employee (or a dependant) take a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) because the results are quick.

You can only apply once in a 30-day period for each eligible employee, unless a health official or doctor advises the employee (or their dependant) to get another test.

The Ministry of Health has information about when someone needs to get a test and what they need to do while waiting for results:

You can apply for the Short-Term Absence Payment up to 8 weeks after the COVID-19 PCR test.

If your employee (or their dependant) has a positive COVID-19 test result, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to help pay their wages or salary while they're required to self-isolate. You'll need to do this three days after you've applied for the Short-Term Absence Payment.

If you're not sure which COVID-19 payment to apply for, use our online tool to check:

Fill out the online form

The online form you fill out depends on whether you have people working for you or not. If you are applying for more than one person (including yourself) use the employer form.

You must be in New Zealand, or Australia, when you make the application.

If you've made a mistake on your application

You can call us on 0800 40 80 40 and we'll fix it for you.

You don't need to submit another application.

State sector organisations

A state sector organisation can ask for an exception to become eligible to apply for the Short-Term Absence Payment. State sector organisations should contact their monitoring agency if they wish to discuss this.

The information on this page is a summary of the eligibility criteria and obligations set out in the declaration for COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment.

It does not replace the terms of the declaration and if there are any differences between this page and the declaration, the declaration prevails.