Payroll & Finance
COVID-19 Payroll Information - 2022 Latest
February 22, 2022
COVID-19 Payroll Information - 2022 Latest
Last updated: 4:45pm, 2 March, 2022
There are new challenges with the recent move to the Red Alert Level in the COVID-19 Protection Framework. However, the New Zealand Government is still providing support for Kiwi businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Currently, this includes the Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP), the Leave Support Scheme (LSS) and most recently the COVID-19 Support Payment. The Wage Subsidy Scheme (WSS) and Resurgence Support Payment (RSP) are no longer available in the traffic light system.
If you need support with other Covid-19 related payroll matters, please contact our support teams.
COVID-19 Support Payment
New financial support for businesses affected by the Omicron variant was announced on 21st February.
To be eligible, businesses must show a 40% drop in 7 consecutive days within the 6 weeks prior to the shift to Phase 2 of the Omicron response on February 15, compared to 7 days after that date.
Eligible businesses will receive $4000 plus $400 per full-time employee. This is capped at 50 FTEs or $24,000. The recent Transition Payment had the same rate.
There will be three fortnightly payments over six weeks. The first round of applications opened on February 28 and the second round will commence on March 16. Apply for the support payment in myIR here - COVID-19 Support Payment
COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP)
The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment helps businesses keep paying employees who:
cannot work from home, and
need to stay at home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result
There’s a one-off payment of $359 for each eligible worker. 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).
Find out more here - COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment
COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme (LSS)
The COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme is designed to help businesses pay their staff that can’t work.
It covers employees who;
can't come into work because they are in one of the affected groups and have been told to self-isolate, and
can't work from home.
The Covid-19 Leave Support scheme is paid at the rate of $600 a week for a full time employee and $359 a week for a part time employee.
Find out more here - COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme
General Government Guidelines
The following workplace guidance has been provided by the government.
Employers and employees need to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19, protect New Zealand and keep each other safe. This means that normal obligations to keep in regular contact and to act in good faith are more important than ever.
Regular employment law still applies to all employment relationships – regardless of the circumstances that we find ourselves in. This includes anything that has been agreed to in an employment agreement.
Under no circumstances can employers pay less than the minimum wage or reduce any of employees’ legal minimum employment entitlements. Employers and employees need to discuss, in good faith, any changes in work arrangements, leave and pay, or health and safety measures.
In the absence of an agreement to alternative working arrangements, employees need to return to work if there is no reason the employee needs to stay away from work under public health guidance from the Ministry of Health.
If a worker is sick with COVID-19, or required to self-isolate, the first consideration for an employer should be to look after people, contain COVID-19 and protect public health. Businesses may be able to apply for the COVID-19 Leave Support Scheme to support their employees.
Employers should not knowingly allow workers to come to a workplace when they are sick with COVID-19 or required to self-isolate under public health guidelines for COVID-19. If they do, they are likely to be in breach of their duties under the Health and Safety at Work Act.
Businesses should check if they are eligible for financial support on the Work and Income website.
To learn more about processing these payments in PayHero, check out this FAQ article.
Further guidance from the government is available through the links below:
This information has been provided by the FlexiTime team to help Kiwi employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because this is a rapidly changing situation, the information provided is subject to change.
If in doubt, please talk to your accountant, HR advisor or an employment lawyer for further advice.