COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment

The COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment is available for businesses, including self-employed people, to help pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait for a COVID-19 test result.

Information

Inland Revenue is updating their systems between 21 and 28 October. This may delay some COVID-19 Short-Term Absence Payment applications, because we need to verify your information with Inland Revenue. You can still apply during this time. We’re sorry for the inconvenience.

The Short-Term Absence Payment is available from 9 February 2021. It’s to help businesses keep paying eligible employees who:

  • cannot work from home, and
  • need to miss work to stay home while waiting for a COVID-19 test result (in line with public health guidance).

There’s a one-off payment of $359 for each eligible worker. You can only apply for it once, for each eligible employee, in any 30-day period (unless a health official or doctor tells the employee to get another test).

It’s also available to self-employed people.

Anyone who is unwell should call Healthline on 0800 611 116 or talk to their doctor or health provider. Businesses should encourage their employees to do this if they're unwell.

We also have the Leave Support Scheme and the COVID-19 Wage Subsidy August 2021 available to employers. You cannot get more than one COVID-19 payment for the same employee at the same time from us.

Easy Read documents

You can read about the Short-term Absence Payment, and our other COVID-19 supports for employers, in an Easy Read document: