Coronavirus In The UK: Are You Entitled To Sick Pay?

17/03/2020

 
 

“No one should be penalised for doing the right thing.”

That is the message prime minister Boris Johnson asserted as he expanded the statutory sick pay (SSP) in the UK beginning March 4th. The move has been made to ease the burden on individual workers during the Covid-19 outbreak as part of the government’s emergency legislation measures. 
The SSP “will now be available for eligible individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or those unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government advice”. The extended SSP will be available for all those who are advised to self-isolate, even if they haven’t yet had symptoms. The announcement goes together with the change that SSP will be payable from day one instead of day four for affected individuals.

 

What if you’re self employed?

The Budget states that those who are not eligible for SPP, such as self employed workers or those earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can now “more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance”. The guidance explains, “For the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support.” and it continues that workers can claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront “without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre if they are advised to self-isolate”.
 

How much is statutory sick pay?

The government website states the amount at £94.25 per week of statutory sick pay for up to 28 weeks and is 
paid by the employer weekly or monthly, the same as with your regular wages.
 

Do I need a note from the GP?

To prevent further spread of Covid-19, people are advised to self-isolate and will be able to get an alternative note by using an online NHS 111 service, rather than going to the GP.

Am I entitled to sick pay?

Your rights to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will depend on your employment status and earnings.If you’re an employee and earn at least £118 a week, you will be eligible for £94.25 per week for up to 28 weeks. Ordinarily you must be off for at least four days in a row, but the government announced SSP will be paid from the first day you are off sick if it is related to Coronavirus. Check with your employer or consult your contract and staff handbook.

If your employer is not paying you as per the government advice, contact the HM Revenue and Customs statutory payment dispute team on 03000 560 630.
If you’re not eligible for SSP, you will no longer need to go to Jobcentre Plus to claim Universal Credit if you’re advised to self-isolate and you may be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) if you’re ill.

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