Employers in New Zealand get US$252 for self-isolating staff

The government has launched the Short-Term Absence Payment (STAP) – a scheme to help businesses and staff affected by the pandemic.
By: | February 10, 2021

Under STAP, employers can receive NZ$350 (US$252) over the absence of their workers who cannot work from home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result. 

Affected businesses can contact the ministry and apply for the one-off payment per head for such employees, said minister for social development and employment Carmel Sepuloni. 

STAP would also cover workers who were the caregivers of people who needed to self-isolate pending a test result, but could not do it safely without support. 

“Business has a key role to play in helping New Zealand navigate the COVID -19 pandemic,” Sepuloni said. 

“Testing for Covid-19 remains a critical ongoing element in our elimination strategy. We need people to take the test if they feel unwell and removing any barriers is important,” she said. 

The scheme would also cover workers who were a household member, or “secondary contact”, of someone who had been in close contact with a person with COVID -19, pending test results for the close contact. 

Minister for workplace relations Michael Wood said the scheme could also be used to cover the cost of a worker’s sick leave if they do not feel well, but do not have any sick leave left. 

“We’ve listened to businesses and workers alike who said we needed a way to support businesses to help workers stay home if they’re getting tested,” he said. 

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Council of Trade Unions president Richard Wagstaff said STAP would play a crucial role in supporting employees to take time off work while awaiting test results. 

“We know that when employers stop paying people or reduce entitlements, some working people are forced to return to work when they should not,” he said. 

“The system around this payment does rely on employers doing the right thing; insisting that working people stay away from work if that is what medical professionals have indicated is necessary.”