How does the Coronavirus affect sick pay?

March 17, 2020

I’m going to cut the long story short – you’ve come here for quick information about the Coronavirus and sick pay.

Here’s the deal:

Statutory sick pay (SSP) is available for employees who have been diagnosed with Coronavirus or who are self-isolating.  In most cases SSP is available from day 4, however due to recent events it is due from day 1. A doctors note is not required from an employee – they may be able to get an alternative note using the online NHS 111 service.  Employees can not just take time off because they are scared of contracting the virus.  An employee must:

–          Have the virus

–          Have symptoms of the virus – a higher fever and continuous cough

–          Someone in the household has symptoms, so the whole household has to self-isolate for 14 days

–          Have been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111.

An employer must be understanding if an employee is nervous of contracting the disease and help out by offering for them to take unpaid leave/use holiday.  Another helpful thing could be to provide parking for employees who would use public transport ordinarily.  If an employee just takes time off without the employers consent, this can be subject to disciplinary action as normal. 

The employer will be refunded at a later date by the government for up to 14 days SSP for each employee.  You are not required to have medical evidence but must keep records of the employee, how long they have been off sick and reasons why.  Employees can be off for 7 days self-certified anyway, so this can still happen. 

Employees who earn less than £118 per week and don’t qualify for SSP can claim Universal Credit.

If an employee is off for longer than 14 days, then the usual sick leave rules would kick in.

There will hopefully be more information available at a later stage on this, and we will strive to keep you informed.

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