What Are My Employment Rights with Coronavirus? - Paul Doran Law

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What Are My Employment Rights with Coronavirus?

Understandably, we have been receiving a number of queries from people regarding their rights to sick pay and other issues at work if impacted by coronavirus. Coronavirus

Due to the number of queries, we are unable to offer our usual free consultation for such matters however we have set out below our understanding of the present position.

Please note that the information below does not constitute legal advice and is based on our understanding of the legal position as of 15 March 2020. The position is fast moving therefore you would be advised to check the current government position at the time you read this note. There are links to the government pages at the bottom of this page.

Am I Entitled to Sick Pay?

The short answer is that if you are off work sick, you are generally entitled to sick pay. as long as you:

How much pay you are entitled to receive, and when you are entitled to receive it, depends on a few factors.

The first thing to check is your employment contract. Many employers will have provisions that you are entitled to be receive sick pay for a defined period, for example, up to two weeks. Other larger employers, particularly public sector employers, will have more generous schemes such as six months paid sick leave.

If your contract does not include an entitlement to sick pay, or if your period of absence is more than your entitlement, you may still be entitled to statutory sick pay (“SSP”).

SSP is usually payable from day four of your illness. This means that you receive nothing for the first three days, but you are entitled to be paid from the fourth day.

SSP is currently paid at a rate of £94.25 per week.

The government announced in early March that people who are absent from work with coronavirus issues will be entitled to receive SSP from day one. However, as of today, 16 March 2020, legislation enacting this promise has yet to be brought into force.

Am I Sick? 

There are potential complications about whether a person is sick if, for example, they are self-isolating. A range of scenarios arise as you could:

  1. Have contracted the illness
  2. Be self-isolating on instruction of a medical professional
  3. Be self-isolating voluntarily due to apparent symptoms or exposure to symptoms
  4. Be caring for someone within the same household who has displayed coronavirus symptoms and has been told to self-isolate

The government has now introduced legalisation which means that SSP will be available to anyone isolating themselves from other people to prevent infection or contamination with coronavirus.

That means that people in any of the above scenarios will be entitled to SSP.

What is unlikely to be covered are people who choose to isolate themselves not due to a fear or contaminating anyone else but more due to a fear of contracting coronavirus themselves.

What if my place of work closes temporarily?

Some employment contracts will include a clause which allows for a temporary lay-off. If your contract includes such a clause and the employer enforces it, you will be entitled to the minimum statutory rate which is £29 per day. Your contract may include a more generous payment.

If there are no lay off provisions within your contract, the employer will either be required to:

  1. Pay your wages in full whilst you are off work; or
  2. Make you redundant

You will be entitled to a redundancy payment if you have been employed for two years or more. The statutory rate is calculated as follows:

Length of service is capped at 20 years.

Zero Hour Contracts and Self-Employed People 

As it stands, self employed people are not entitled to SSP or any other payments when off work sick.

People on zero hour contracts may be entitled to receive SSP provided they meet the criteria above.

Government Advice 

The most recent government advice on the coronavirus generally can be found here:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

The most recent government guidance for Employees can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees

The most recent government guidance for Employers can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19

Need help?

If you need assistance with an employment issue which is not related to coronavirus, call 0808 168 7288 or fill in the contact form, right.

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