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COVID-19 - Leave and Self-Isolation Scheme for Business Owners

The government has announced a COVID-19 leave payment scheme to provide support. What does this mean for business owners?

If your employee has been asked to self-isolate by a doctor or health official, they legally must stay home until they are told they no longer need to by public health officials.
If an employee cannot work from home while self-isolating, you may be able to apply for financial support so they can continue to get paid.

The purpose of the leave scheme is to provide employees with a minimum income if they are unable to work. The payment does not affect any paid leave that are owed to the employee and is available even if an employee is on paid leave for part of the period. For example, the employee can still receive sick leave, or take annual leave during this period.

One of the key difference between the leave scheme and the wage subsidy outlined separately here, is that the wage subsidy requires the business owner to demonstrate a 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue when compared with the same month last year, and that decline is related to COVID-19. 

Who is eligible?

If your employees have been asked to self-isolate and they cannot work from home, you can apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme for them. Employees on a casual contract are also eligible for the payment.

  • You can also use the payment to help pay employees who:
  • Are sick with COVID-19 and need to isolate until a doctor tells them they no longer need to  
  • Have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 
  • Are at a higher risk of getting sick from COVID-19 
  • Live with someone who is at high risk of getting sick from COVID-19, and a doctor or health professional has told people in the household to isolate to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 to vulnerable household members 
  • Have been asked to self-isolate by public health officialsneed to stay home and look after a dependent child who needs support to self-isolate. 

Employers and employees need to meet certain criteria to apply for the Leave Support Scheme. 

What will they get?

$600.00 per week for a fulltime employee and $359 per week for a part time worker. 

Who pays it?

Ministry of social development (MSD) will pay the employer, who will then be required to pass it on to the affected employee. MSD will pay on a fortnightly basis once it receives an application.

Other key details of the scheme:

Eligibility is open to all employees legally working in NZ (through their employers), the self-employed and contractors

Eligibility will only be for workers who are not able to work from home:

To Apply

Click here to apply

You will need:

  • your IRD number
  • your business name
  • your business address
  • your New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)
  • the names of your employees
  • your employee IRD numbers
  • contact details for your business and your employees.


New Zealand Business Number (NZBN)

NZBN is a globally unique 13 digit number. 

To find your NZBN, if you are a company: type your business name in the search bar on this website

If you are a sole trader, partnership or trust you will need to apply for a NZBN here. You will need a New Zealand driver license or NZ passport. 

We can help with this application process if needed. Please contact us. 

More Information

There is further information on Work and Income website here.
You can also download the factsheet for wage subsidy and leave payments from here.

Contact Us

Contact Tim Doyle or Jane Evans today for a no obligation phone call or meeting on 07 823 4980 or contact us. Our office is in Cambridge, NZ, but distance is no problem. We have many international and national clients.


This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transaction.