Leave guidance

The Ministry of Health provides information on caring for those who have, or may have, COVID-19 at home and requirements for anyone who is a household or high risk contact of a COVID-19 case.

This section outlines the recommended approach to leave and pay for the following situations:

Self-isolating or caring for a dependant who is self-isolating on public health advice

Employees should be supported to comply with public health requirements if they are a contact of a COVID-19 case that is required to isolate. If required to self-isolate on public health advice, employees should not come into the workplace and should work from home wherever possible.

Currently, isolation is required for high-risk contacts and household close contacts only. Where it is not possible for an employee to work from home, or to cover periods of unavailability for work, employees should receive paid special leave, paid at normal rates.

The duration of this special leave should be capped at the duration of self-isolation required of a vaccinated person. Note that the spell of isolation for an individual does not reset if additional members of the household contract COVID-19 during the first case’s isolation period (the Ministry of Health provides more detailed advice on isolation requirements here).

This period of special leave may be extended at the agency’s discretion if the employee’s individual circumstances warrant it.

Sick with COVID-19 or caring for dependant who is sick with COVID-19

Sick leave or domestic/dependant leave should be provided in line with the employment agreement. If the employee has insufficient sick leave, agencies’ usual policies relating to discretionary sick leave apply. Where the employee cannot work whilst caring for their dependant, then dependant leave (sick leave) in line with the employment agreement should be provided.

Dependant requires additional care

There may be occasions where an employee is required to provide care for a dependant whose usual care is unavailable, for example the temporary closure of a dependant’s school or early learning centre.

In this situation, employees should work from home as much as possible. Where the employee cannot work whilst caring for their dependant, then dependant leave (sick leave) in line with the employment agreement should be provided. Agencies can consider special paid leave where dependant leave has been exhausted, if warranted in the circumstances.

Agencies’ current arrangements for staff where schools are closed for operational reasons other than COVID-19 may apply.

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