Employment FAQs

There has been a lot of discussion in recent months around the effect that coronavirus is having on employment and the UK’s workforce, and the guidance is being updated regularly. Our Employment solicitors have answered some frequently asked questions around employment law throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

What statutory sick pay is available for those self-isolating and who is eligible?

You will be eligible to receive £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payable by your employer, unless your contract of employment states otherwise, if:

  • you have coronavirus or you are displaying symptoms
  • if you are in the same household as someone showing symptoms
  • you have been advised by a doctors to self-isolate

Employees can self-certify for the first seven days and following this, a note should be sought from NHS 111 online, not from a doctor.

Do employees need a sick note to claim SSP?

No. For the first seven days that an employee is unwell they do not need to provide proof of sickness. After this, if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been advised to stay home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online.

What support is available for the self-employed or those on zero-hour contracts who need to take time off?

If you are self-employed or earn below the Lower Earnings Limit (£118 per week), you will not be entitled to SSP. If you have symptoms or are unable to work, you will be able to make a claim for Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance more easily as the minimum income restrictions will be temporarily relaxed.

Back in March, the House of Commons proposed Statutory Self-Employment Pay. If accepted, self-employed workers can receive 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years or £2,917 per month, whichever is the lower.

If an employee has returned to work from self-isolation and they are still coughing, should they be sent home?

No, if an employee has followed medical and government advice and self-isolated, they can return to work. A cough might seem unsettling for others, however, it may persist for a few weeks and they are not contagious.

Do employees have to work if they are self-isolating?

If they feel well enough to work and they can work from home, they should do so. They should be paid in full for the time they are working from home. If they do not feel well enough to work, they are ‘off sick’. Therefore, unless their employment contract states otherwise, they should be paid SSP.

When do Government loans need to be repaid?

Many small businesses were given government-backed loans to assist with cash flow and costs during lockdown. These were originally due to be repaid over six years, however, under the new plan this has been extended to 10 years to reduce monthly payments.

Further information

Whether you’re an employer or an employee seeking further information on any element of employment law, call our specialist employment solicitors on 0117 322 6606 or complete our online enquiry form.

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