Start your claim

March 13th 2020

Employment Law

Financial employment rights for workers who have to self-isolate or take leave to look after dependents

Joanne Wright

Joanne Wright

Solicitor, HR & Employment

Financial employment rights for workers who have to self-isolate or take leave to look after dependents

In the event of having to self-isolate due to Covid-19, the laws around sick pay have changed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has confirmed in his first Budget  that employees will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day they take off work, not the fourth, as it was previously in order to self-isolate for the first 14 days. 

In the event of having to self-isolate due to Covid-19, the laws around sick pay have changed. The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has confirmed in his first Budget  that employees will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day they take off work, not the fourth, as it was previously in order to self-isolate for the first 14 days. 

The government will reimburse small employers employing less than 250 employees to assist them during this period.

A notice confirming the need to self-isolate can be obtained from GP surgeries (but the patient should telephone through, not attend the surgery in person) or the NHS 111 service.

However, there is still some confusion about how this affects gig economy workers, freelancers, self-employed workers, and workers who do not earn enough to qualify for SSP. For those who are not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, the government has so far put a range of support in place, including Universal Credit and contributory Employment and Support Allowance.  The Chancellor has today confirmed that the government will look at supporting those who do not qualify for SSP through the benefit system.  He said that those on contributory employment and support allowance will be able to claim from day one instead of day eight to make sure that time spent off work due to sickness is reflected in their benefits and he is temporarily removing the minimum income floor in Universal Credit.

If you are not sick yourself but need to take time off to look after a dependent who is, ACAS provides guidance stating that employees are entitled to time off work to help a dependent. They confirm that this also applies in the case of a child needing to go into isolation due to coronavirus. At present, there’s no statutory right to pay for this time off, although policies will vary from company to company

It seems unlikely that any new laws will come in regarding imposed self-isolation, unless the spread becomes out of control and the public are disobeying a government request to stay indoors. If a person does obtain a written notice to self-isolate but does not comply, or an employer suspects an employee may have come into contact with the virus, they can turn them away from work as they have a duty of care to protect the workforce. If the employee still refuses, it could become a disciplinary matter.”

*https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-51738837 

What Our Clients Say