COVID-19 Short Term Absence Payment
On 8 February 2020 the Government announced a new COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) to support employers and self-employed workers.
(Extract of overview below is from business.govt)
This could be to cover people who may or may not have any remaining sick leave and is to provide financial support to the business and the employee.
This can apply to eligible workers that must stay at home while waiting for a test result.
The STAP is available from 9 February 2020, through Work and Income, to employers for employees, and self-employed workers, who:
- need to miss work to stay at home while waiting on a COVID-19 test result, and
- cannot work from home.
There’s a one-off payment of $350 for each eligible employee/worker. You can only apply for it once, for each eligible employee/worker, in any 30-day period (unless a health official or doctor tells the worker to get another test).
This now includes people who are sick with COVID-19 'like' symptoms who meet the Ministry of Health’s ‘higher index of suspicion’ criteria,
as well as health and disability support and aged-care workers who were self-isolating while waiting for a COVID-19 test result.
Key points if paying staff:
- Normal sick leave rules apply if available.
- Where your employee wouldn’t otherwise have an entitlement to be paid if they are not to work (eg if a worker has used up their paid sick leave so would be on unpaid leave) you:
- should try to pay your worker as if they had worked that day, or
- where this is not possible, you must pay at least the full amount of the Short-Term Absence Payment through the PAYE system to the employee while they are waiting for the relevant test.
- If your employee’s usual wages are less than or equal to the Short-Term Absence Payment, you must pay the worker their usual wages. Any difference should be used to help pay any other affected staff.
- The COVID-19 test must have been taken within the last eight weeks, but not before 9am on 9 February 2021.
Applying for the Short-Term Absence payment:
- Fill out the relevant online form off the “Work and Income” website.
- Which is available under category “COVID-19”, “Short-Term Absence Payment”, “How to apply”.
If an employee/worker returns a positive COVID-19 test, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to help pay their wages.
I have more questions, what should I do?
- For further information you can search online, The Work & Income website outlines the “Short-Term Absence Payment” in more detail.
- However sometimes things are easier explained, so give us a call at the office or go to our “Contact us” page. You can also message us using the box below.
If you have any general questions, feel free to use our contact us form on the website.