COVID-19: essential workers to receive payment if unable to work
The Ministers of Social Development and Workplace Relations and Safety have announced that essential workers who take leave to comply with public health guidance would be supported with a leave scheme to enable them to receive income without feeling pressured to go to work.
This will affect people such as:
- those over 70 years of age
- those who are immunocompromised
- those who have a higher-risk person in their bubble
- those who are sick, or are taking care of someone who is sick, or need to self-isolate because they (or a dependant) have come into contact with the virus.
Officials are preparing guidance to support employers and employees to discuss what it means to be at higher risk.
Under this essential workers’ leave scheme, workers will receive income from the essential business at the same rates as the Wage Subsidy Scheme provides: $585.80 per week for full-time (over 20 hours per week) workers and $350.00 per week for part-time workers. Workers whose income is less than $350 a week will be entitled to receive their normal pay.
Payments are to be made every four weeks, with the option for businesses to reapply for those same workers after four weeks or make applications for other workers at any time during the operation of the scheme. Businesses are obliged to make their best endeavours to pay at least 80% of affected workers’ usual income before COVID-19. The scheme is directed at businesses that are still operating but are facing a significant loss of business.
The details of the scheme are still being finalised. Online applications can be made from Monday, 6 April 2020 onwards.
Source document: Beehive
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