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Coronavirus: Advice for employers and employees

10 March 2020

In case coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads more widely in the UK, employers should consider some simple steps to help protect the health and safety of staff but what does mean for employers in terms of paying employees?

Pay if someone has to go into self-isolation

The government has made clear that if NHS 111 or a doctor advises an employee or worker to self-isolate, they’re entitled to statutory sick pay. If the employer offers contractual sick pay, it’s good practice to provide this.

The employer might need to be flexible if they require evidence from the employee or worker. For example, someone might not be able to provide a sick note (‘fit note’) if they’ve been told to self-isolate for 14 days.

The employee must tell their employer as soon as possible if they cannot work. It’s helpful to let the employer know the reason and how long they are likely to be off for.

If an employee is not sick but the employer tells them not to come to work

If an employee is not sick but their employer tells them not to come to work, they should get their usual pay. For example, if someone has returned from China or another affected area and their employer asks them not to come in.

SSP – Statutory Sick Pay

The government has introduced SSP payments from day one of sickness, previously there were three qualifying days with SSP being paid from day four as part of their emergency measures for the coronavirus.

This was brought in to enable those to self-isolate without worrying about not being paid for those three days.

Of course there are other payment scenarios, if you need help in determining your situation, or would just like to know more, please get in touch.

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