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Government 'doing everything' they can to ensure workers who need time off due to Covid-19 get paid - Ardern

The Prime Minister says her Government “try to do everything [they] can” to make sure there is financial support so that workers who need to be tested for Covid-19 or isolate can be paid while being away from work.

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Auckland went into Level 3 lockdown on Sunday morning after a new case linked to the Papatoetoe cluster. Source: Breakfast

Jacinda Ardern said there had been a payment - separate to sick leave - available since the beginning of the pandemic to cover wages of employees who are away from work because of Covid-19.

The Prime Minister said it was “fantastic” the Council of Trade Unions and Business NZ came together yesterday to urge employers that there were was support available.

“You can be supported to continue to pay your workforce.”

“Make sure that you are asking the questions: Are you a close contact? Have you been to sites of interest? If you have stay home and we will continue to pay you, because the Government is paying us, so we are doing all we can.”

Funding given directly to public health units meant there were support options for casual workers who may not feel confident to tell their employers they need time off, Ardern said.

Covid-19: What support is available for businesses

“We even gave funding directly to our public health funds to say if you are concerned that there are financial and welfare needs, then we can support that directly,” she said.

"As well of course as all our public health unit being aware of the short-term leave payment, we have a payment that covers if you have to stay home to wait for a test and you’re unable to work, we also have a 14-day payment if you’re required to isolate plus we have everyone being advised of their welfare support that is available

“If you go into the Jet Park [quarantine facility], it’s just ramped up, the support that is provided.”

“We try and do everything, we really do. Yes, it won’t be perfect and there are always complicating factors, we’re often, sometimes dealing with English language issues, we try to overcome those too.”