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On 2 April, the government announced an essential workers leave scheme. Broadly, this scheme expands the wage subsidy to cover some essential workers who are currently on leave due to public health guidance, but whose employers may not meet the criteria for the broader wage subsidy (for example, supermarket workers).
Until now, there have been concerns essential workers who are following public health guidance are being forced to take leave, either paid or unpaid. By expanding the wage subsidy, the government is ensuring people and businesses can prioritise health during this time.
The essential workers leave scheme is designed to cover essential workers who are on leave because:
While higher risk categories are yet to be defined, we expect this would broadly include over 70s and those with underlying health conditions.
The payments will be four-weekly with the ability to reapply at the end of the four-week period. Businesses will also be able to apply on behalf of additional employees as circumstances demand.
Employers should pay their employees at either:
The scheme will be open from midday on 6 April. The government will review the scheme after eight weeks.
If you have any queries, please contact your usual advisor. Please note, the information contained in this article is correct at the time of publication, but under ever evolving conditions, information may change.
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