Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”)
Employees who are self-isolating due to COVID-19 are entitled to SSP. Traditionally, SSP has been reserved for people who are unable to work due to incapacity.
However, updated government guidance states that an employee is treated as being unable to work due to incapacity if they are complying with advice from Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland or Public Health Wales. Therefore employees self-isolating due to mild symptoms are entitled to SSP, even though they would ordinarily be able to attend work.
SSP is currently £94.25 a week. Usually, an employee is unable to receive SSP until they have been ill for four or more days in a row. However, as of 13 March 2020, an employee affected by COVID-19 has the right to receive SSP immediately.
Working from home
Employees who are able to work from home should continue to receive full pay. To minimise exposure to the Coronavirus and help with social distancing, it is unlikely to be considered unreasonable to request that an employee work from home where possible. Many employees may already have mobility clauses in their contracts.
The Government has announced a £multi billion stimulus package to assist businesses with COVID 19. The Government also intends to introduce additional specific employment measures. It is unclear what these will be and the employment team at PJH Law is keeping up to date with these measures and will provide updates as they are announced.
It is important that you ensure your employees’ health and well-being is paramount. Employers have a statutory duty of care for people’s health and safety at work and you should do everything in your power to support people remaining at home or taking necessary precautions.
HR basics to follow if your business is still open
- Make sure everyone’s contact numbers and emergency contact details are up to date.
- Make sure all staff are aware of the latest government advice, your response as an employer and what you are doing to protect people’s health and reduce the risk of infection spreading.
- Continue to communicate as the situation changes.
- Make sure managers are clear on any relevant policies and processes, for example sickness reporting and sick pay, and your homeworking policy.
Protect your workforce
- Keep your workforce well-informed with ongoing developments and official advice from the Government and National Health Service and promote resources that are available.
- Advise employees to take precautions. This includes working from home where possible and avoiding non-essential social contact (in line with the latest government advice). CIPD’s has a series on remote working for tips on getting the most from remote working.
- If your business remains open – under the latest government measures, it’s important yo help reduce the spread of infection by providing soap and hand sanitiser gels with alcohol, especially in communal areas like kitchens and coffee areas.
- Increase the frequency and intensity of office cleaning; frequently wipe down communal spaces such as kitchens, handrails on stairs, lift buttons, door handles, etc.
- Employers should use discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to self-isolate.
- Employees can currently self-certify for the first seven days. Employees can now apply for an isolation note through a new online service. There is more information is available on the government website.
Above all keep well and take care:
PJH Law’s employment law team try to do things differently. We operate a relaxed, informal, friendly and personal service. We are specialists in getting the best outcomes we can for our clients. These are unique times and we have over 35 years of combined experience that can help you with any employment law issue covering COVID-19.
We have a large firm experience, but being a niche firm offer a more friendly personal service.
For expert advice on employnment law issues arising out of COVID 19, or any kind of employment law dispute and funding options; including employment protection insurance, please complete our enquiry form, request a callback or call our employment lawyers and expert legal team on 01780 757 589.