Staff leave options due to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is evolving rapidly.  The closure of our border for the first time is a dramatic sign that we are in ever-changing times.  It is crucial that we all keep as up to date as possible with Government announcements.

Introduction of leave options due to COVID-19

Because of the current unprecedented situation, we are putting in place provisions for staff who are sick, or, for other reasons due to COVID-19, will be absent from work.

Before staff decide to self-isolate or who become ill, they should talk to their Regional Manager. Likewise, if a Centre takes a decision to close sessions or the entire Centre, it is vital the decision is made in discussion with Regional Managers. Such a decision will have wide-ranging ramfications, as you can see from the table at the bottom of this document.

Please keep in mind that communication is crucial at this time and we can be at our most effective in supporting our Playcentre whānau and each other if we are all on the same page.    

Please keep in mind:

  • Playcentre Aotearoa wishes to care and support our employees through the COVID-19 pandemic and is working to mitigate threats to both our employees’ employment and the risks to the ongoing viability of our Playcentre communities.
  •  We see this as very important given we may face circumstances that will have a direct impact on our paid employees’ jobs.
  • We also acknowledge that individual employees may decide to absent themselves from the workplace for reasons other than medical.

 Leave options

 Usual Sick Leave

  • If a staff member is sick with a contagious illness (and has a medical certificate) they will be paid for “actual” and “reasonable” sick leave, and this will not affect sick leave balances.  This provision is temporary and in place until 1 September, when it will be reviewed.  Centres will be responsible for salaries, but in cases of genuine hardships for Centres, Playcentre management will consider them on a case by case basis.
  • If a staff member is required to go into self-isolation, their salary will be paid for two weeks of their normal substantive hours without a deduction to their sick leave balance.
  • If a staff member is self-isolated but well and still able to work, they may be able to work from home (at the request of the manager).

 Self-selected Absence

  • If a staff member chooses to stay away from work due to their concerns relating to COVID-19 (but doesn’t have the infections and has not been required to self-isolate) they should apply for annual leave or leave without pay (LWOP).
  • Once annual leave is exhausted or the approved LWOP period ends, managers will consider the circumstances and determine if further leave is granted or the employee should be asked to return to work.
  • Again, if a staff member is self-isolated but well and still able to work, they may be able to work from home (at the request of the manager) and the status/hours of their work would be recorded in Timefiler.  

Voluntary Playcentre Closure

  • When a Centre decides to close without being required to do so, and a staff member is as a result unable to work, their salaries will continue to be paid for four weeks of their substantive hours of work. Again, Centres will be responsible for paying staff, but in cases of genuine hardship for Centres, Playcentre management will make decisions on a case by case basis.

Wage subsidy

  • Where applicable/appropriate, we will request the wage subsidy from MSD, and if this is received the Centre will not be charged for that portion of the wages (or will receive a credit against the wage invoice). 

It is very important that in the first instance, always contact your manager to discuss your situation. Please ensure you contact them at the first possible opportunity.  For sick leave, annual leave or Leave without Pay you will also need to make these requests in Timefiler, as per the usual process. If you are required to self-isolate and are being paid your usual hours, record your standard hours in Timefiler as normal.