With Auckland going to Alert Level 3 on 28 February 2021 and the rest of New Zealand in Alert Level 2, many working people have had their jobs disrupted. Unions are reminding all working people and their employees that work rights continue during Covid-19. Employers should continue paying their staff and access government support to help to cover the cost.
Your rights at work continue
Your employer can’t just stop paying you. Your employer can’t force you to take leave. And they can’t just change your contract without consulting you in good faith.
If you are a casual worker, remember that casual workers still have rights.
Your employer may be able to get a wage subsidy for March 2021
If the business you work for is affected by the latest increase in Covid-19 Alert Levels, your employer may be able to access a wage subsidy to help continue paying your wages.
To qualify, your employer’s business would need to expect a 40% drop in revenue in a 14 day period between 28 February and 21 March 2021, compared to a typical 14 day period between 4 January and 14 February 2021.
The Covid-19 Wage Subsidy March 2021 is a two week payment at $585.80 a week for full-time employees or $350 a week for part-time employees. Applications will be open from 4 March.
If your employer gets the wage subsidy, there are some things they must do – including continuing to employee everyone for whom they are recieving a subsidy. We expect this to be consistent with the requirements for employers under the previous wage subsidy scheme.
Other COVID-19 help for workplaces:
If you need leave from work while you wait for the results of a Covid test, your employer should give you paid special leave without this being deducted from your sick leave or annual leave balance. Your employer can apply for support to cover the cost of this, through the Covid-19 Short Term Absence Payment.
People who are told to self-isolate for longer periods are also still able to access support from the Coid-19 Leave Support Scheme through their employer.
Qualifying employers can also apply for the Resurgence Support Payment. This provides $1,500 per business, with an additional $400 per full-time employee (up to 50 employees).