Paying Your People During the COVID-19 Crisis | Knowledge | PaySauce

Paying Your People During the COVID-19 Crisis

by Laura Marwick

Work in NZ is already pretty heavily impacted by the arrival of coronavirus. With strong precautionary measures in place, a good chunk of our workforce will need to be away from their jobs over the coming weeks and months.

The good news is that the government has kicked in a generous assistance package to support employers. Here’s what you should know about:

If your business is hurting

Wage Subsidy

If your team is sick or in self-isolation

COVID-19 Leave Payment

My employee has gone overseas, or needs to go overseas.

First off, remember that no-one should travel unless it’s absolutely necessary! People returning from international travel will need to undergo a 14-day self isolation period. Anyone who’s chosen to leave New Zealand to travel overseas from 16 March is not eligible for COVID-19 Leave for self-isolation on their return. Employees returning from travel in the next 8 weeks (and leaving before March 16) are eligible. Here’s a really thorough guide to what self-isolation requires: COVID-19 Self-isolation.

There’s also the risk of getting stuck as a result of other countries’ travel restrictions. If one of your people needs to go overseas from now, you should talk to them in advance about how to approach their self-isolation when they come back home, and discuss what other leave entitlements they might be able to use instead.

If an employee in isolation is able to work remotely, you can just treat this as normal working time. The COVID-19 Leave Payment is only for staff who can’t work from home.

You can’t let anybody come into work if they’re sick with COVID-19, or if they’re supposed to be self-isolating. If they do, they’re probably in breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act. If you have a good reason to be worried about infection for your team, you have to instruct those people not to come to work.

My team is sick, or are required to self-isolate. How can I apply for the COVID-19 Leave Payment?

You can apply at You’ll need to supply details about your business (IRD number, NZBN) and details about each relevant staff member. Your staff also need to register their self-isolation with Healthline.

If your employee is ill with COVID-19 (or caring for somebody who’s ill) and this lasts longer than 14 days, you’ll need to reapply to receive a new payment. You can do this multiple times.

The government is aiming to process applications within 5 working days, but this isn’t a hard and fast rule - there could be a lot of applications in a short time frame, so take that with a grain of salt.

How should I process my employee’s pay?

The COVID-19 Leave Payment will go to employers with eligible employees, and you need to pass the payment onto your employee in full. If you’re using PaySauce, our support team will help you to pay this as a one-off.

The wage subsidy will be paid straight to you to help you sustain paying your staff. You can continue paying your team normally. If you’re forced to make pay cuts, you have to continue to pay at least 80% of their normal wage or salary. PaySauce has a range of historical reports to help you calculate this accurately.

If your business needs to shut down temporarily while keeping your staff on, and they’re usually paid hourly, give our team a call and they’ll help you work out how much to pay your team.


We’ll update this info as we find out more and share anything helpful with you as we have it. Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone or fire through a message if you have any questions. Look after yourselves and each other!


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Updated on 23 March 2020

Laura Marwick
Head of Marketing

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