An outline of eligibility requirements and entitlements

With the current economic landscape, employers need to ensure that they remain up to date with subsidies that are available to them. Of note is the Leave Support Scheme, which as of 1 May 2020, is available for essential and non-essential employers that meet the criteria.

This payment was formerly called the ‘Essential Workers Leave Support’, as it was only available to essential businesses.  As of 1 May 2020, this scheme has been renamed, and is available to all employers which meet the eligibility criteria outlined below.

The Leave Support Scheme is designed to assist employers to pay employees who cannot work from home and who cannot attend work because the Ministry of Health (MoH) Guidelines recommend that they stay at home. To be eligible for the Scheme, both the employer and employee must fit the eligibility criteria.

Before applying for the Scheme, employers must obtain the consent of any employees who will be named in the application. The points to which an employee must consent are outlined in the declaration, which can be found here.

An employer can only apply for the scheme in respect of employees who are legally working in New Zealand.  Following that, an employee must fit into one of the following groups:

  • The employee is at higher risk if they catch COVID-19, and the MoH guidelines recommend they stay at home while public health restrictions are in place; or
  • The employee has come into contact with someone who has COVID-19 and must self-isolate for 14 days as required by MoH guidelines; or
  • The employee has tested positive for COVID-19 and is required to remain off work until they have been cleared by a health professional to be released from self-isolation; or
  • The employee has household members who are at higher risk if they contract COVID-19 and the MoH recommends the employee also remains at home.

If the employee meets the above criteria, then the employer can apply for the Leave Support Scheme in respect of that employee, provided the employer is registered and operating in New Zealand, and either:

  • Has experienced a minimum 30% decline in actual or predicted revenue over the period of a month when compared to the same month last year, or a reasonably equivalent month for a business operating less than a year, and that revenue loss is attributable to COVID-19; or
  • Has had their ability to support their employee due to the COVID-19 public health restrictions, negatively impacted.

If granted, the Leave Support Scheme is provided for 4 weeks per employee, and is paid at a flat rate of:

  • $585.80 for people who were working 20 hours or more per week;
  • $350 for people who were working less than 20 hours per week.

It is important to note that an employer cannot apply for the Leave Support Scheme whilst they are receiving the wage subsidy, or any other support scheme offered by the Government to cover employees in situations contemplated by the Leave Support Scheme.

Whilst the Leave Support Scheme cannot overlap with any other Government support package, it would be prudent to ensure that all schemes are maximised, where possible, to ensure businesses are receiving the most efficient support.

COVID-19 discount for clients

At Jennifer Mills & Associates, we are experts in employment, immigration and health and safety law. In light of the difficult economic landscape, we are currently offering a discount to all clients in response to COVID-19. We are also able to provide an advisory service for all employment, health and safety and immigration law matters. We are able to provide this as a monthly service, and can work with managers to implement effective and efficient strategies for their businesses.

If you would like to know more about this special service and our COVID-19 discount, please contact Jennifer Mills at