Payment rate and processing times for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

How much businesses and self-employed people can get, and application processing times for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment.

Payment rate

There’s a one-off amount of $359 for each eligible worker while they are staying home waiting for COVID-19 PCR test results. This is regardless of whether they’re working full or part-time.

Payment timeframes


We’re currently receiving large numbers of applications for COVID-19 support payments. Please don’t call us to check the status of your application.

It can take up to 5 days to process applications. We’re working as quickly as we can.

We need to check the information you've given us is the same as what's held by Inland Revenue. If it isn't, there could be a delay.

We cannot give you information about the status of your application over the phone. We'll be in touch as soon as we can.

If your application is approved

If your application's approved, we'll email you once the payment has been made. The email will tell you which employees the payment is being made for.

Your bank will use a specific reference - MSD COVID19A.

If you haven't received payment in your account, it may be because we don't have the right bank account number for you. If this is the case, the money will be returned to us and we'll call you.

If your worker has a positive COVID-19 test, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to help pay their wages or salary.

If your application is not approved

If your application is not approved, we'll email you to let you know.

It may not be approved if:

  • the application was completed by an employee (not the business)
  • you applied using the wrong application form
  • the details you gave us don't match those held by Inland Revenue (IR), or
  • you're already getting the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment for the employees named in your application.

If you don't agree with our decision to not approve your application, our email will tell you how you can get this reviewed.

If you are a state sector organisation and your application for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment has not been approved, you'll need to contact your monitoring agency to discuss this.

If you have questions, you can call us on 0800 40 80 40.