Coronavirus: Grant Robertson announces financial support for businesses impacted by COVID cases, isolation requirements

Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the traffic light system, officially called the COVID Protection Framework, is designed to allow businesses to open at red. But there is likely to be economic disruption on the supply side, he says, since that is what has been seen overseas. This means that financial support will initially be for those who are unable to work because they have COVID, need to self-isolate because they are a contact or while awaiting test results.

The support in place for this stage of an Omicron outbreak is the Discharge Support Scheme.

“This is available to employers, and also includes the self-employed, to help pay their employees who have been asked to self-isolate due to COVID and cannot work from home during this time. It is paid at the same rates that the wage subsidy was prior, at $600 per week per full-time worker and $359 per week per part-time worker,” Robertson says.

“We also have the Short Term Absence Payment. This is a payment available to businesses, again including the self-employed, to help pay their employees who cannot work from home while they wait. the result of a COVID-19 test. This is paid at $359 per eligible worker.”

He says there will inevitably be disruption as a result of the Omicron outbreak, though they are trying to get through it. He advises companies to have continuity plans in place, to be stimulated and to have someone who can help you if you need to self-isolate.

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