Who can get the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

Businesses, including self-employed people, and their workers need to meet certain criteria to apply for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment.

Businesses can apply for the Short-Term Absence Payment if they’ve been advised that their worker, or a self-employed person, is:

  • staying home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result, in accordance with public health guidance, or are
  • the parent or caregiver of a dependant who is staying home while waiting for their COVID-19 test results, in accordance with public health guidance, and the dependant needs support to do so safely, or are
  • a household member or secondary contact (as described in public health guidance) of someone who is a close contact of a person with COVID-19, and the worker has been advised to stay at home while waiting for the close contact’s test results.

People who are identified as a close contact of someone who has COVID-19 will be told to self-isolate for a period and get tested for COVID-19. Provided they meet the qualifications, businesses with workers in this situation may be eligible for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme.

Information

There's also a Resurgence Support Payment from Inland Revenue if your revenue reduced over at least 7 days because of a move to Alert Level 2 or higher.

Criteria you need to meet

  • Your worker must be eligible

    Your worker must be waiting for the results of a COVID-19 test and be staying home while waiting for these results (in accordance with public health guidance). They also must be unable to work from home.

    The person who has taken the COVID-19 test can be:

    • your worker
    • someone who is a dependant of your worker (eg. children or a family member with a disability)
    • someone who is a household contact or secondary contact (as described in public health guidance) of a person who has been identified as a close contact of a COVID-19 case.

    The test must have been taken on or after 9 February 2021. You will be able to make an application up to 8 weeks after the test.

    You can only apply for it once, for each eligible worker, in any 30-day period (unless a health official or doctor tells the worker to get another test).

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

    Anyone who is unwell should call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or talk to their doctor or health provider. Businesses should encourage their workers to do this if they’re unwell.

  • Workers who are not eligible

    The Short-Term Absence Payment cannot be paid for workers who:

    • do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and involved in routine testing in their workplace, surveillance testing, or has not been notified through contact tracing to stay home in accordance with public health guidance; or
    • are returning international air crew
    • are currently overseas
    • are staying in managed isolation facilities
    • are an employee of a State Sector organisation or Stated Owned Enterprise (unless that organisation has been granted an exception by the Minister of Finance in relation to a COVID-19 Wage Subsidy or the Leave Support Scheme).
  • Your business must be eligible

    Your business must not be getting any of the following payments at the same time for the same worker to cover any situation that is also covered by Short-Term Absence Payment

    • any other COVID-19 Wage Subsidy, or
    • Leave Support Scheme payments.

    The majority of New Zealand employers and self-employed people are eligible to apply. This includes:

    • registered charities
    • Non-Government Organisations (NGOs)
    • the self-employed and sole traders
    • contractors
    • incorporated societies
    • post-settlement governance entities
    • local government organisations
    • kindergartens and Early Childhood Centres.

    State sector organisations

    State sector organisations are generally not eligible to get the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment. This includes:

    • government agencies, such as:
      • Ministry of Health
      • District Health Boards
      • Inland Revenue
      • Ministry of Social Development
    • Crown entities, such as:
      • Kāinga Ora
      • Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)
    • schools
    • tertiary education institutions, such as:
      • universities
      • polytechnics
      • institutes of technology
      • wānanga

    State sector organisations do not include:

    • local Government, such as:
      • Regional councils
      • City councils
      • District councils
    • kindergartens
    • Early Childhood Centres
    • health and disability facilities or services that receive funding from government agencies.

    A state sector organisation, with its monitoring agency, can ask for an exception to become eligible to apply for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment. State sector organisations should contact their monitoring agency if they wish to discuss this.

    Businesses contracted to provide services to state sector employers

    These businesses (eg cleaning, security, etc) are not state sector employers. They can apply for the COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment if they meet the other qualifications.

  • Your business must be in New Zealand

    Your business must be registered and operating in New Zealand.

    This means your business must be:

    • registered with the New Zealand Companies Office
    • physically located in New Zealand, and
    • your workers legally work in New Zealand.

    Self-employed people

    Self-employed people are not required to be registered with the New Zealand Companies Office, but must have:

    • a personal IRD number for paying income tax and GST
    • government licences and permits for their business needs, and
    • qualifications or registrations for their trade or profession.

    Self-employed people must still meet the requirements to be physically located and legally working in New Zealand.

  • Your workers must be legally working in New Zealand

    Legally working in New Zealand means a person is both working in New Zealand and is legally entitled to work in New Zealand.

    A person is legally entitled to work in New Zealand if they:

    • are a New Zealand or Australian citizen (including a person born in the Cook Islands, Niue or Tokelau), or
    • have a New Zealand residence class visa (eg, permanent residence visa or returning resident visa), or
    • have a New Zealand work visa or a condition on their New Zealand temporary visa that allows them to work in New Zealand (eg, work visa or student visa that allows them to work).

    For more information, visit the Employment New Zealand website.

  • You must have had a conversation with your worker

    You must:

    • check that the date of the COVID-19 test was within the last eight weeks (but no earlier than 9 February 2021)
    • discuss an application with your worker/s before making it
    • get their consent to the relevant points outlined in the declaration
    • acknowledge that they need to stay home in line with public health guidance, and
    • confirm that they can’t work from home and therefore need to miss work to stay at home while waiting for the COVID-19 test results.

    You should have a conversation about how best to support your worker at this time. For example they may choose to use existing sick or annual leave and you could use the subsidy to support paying that.

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