On 04 March 2020 (today), UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said during Prime Minister’s Questions that people who self-isolate are helping to protect others from the virus and should not be “penalised for doing the right thing”.
As part of emergency legislation, he said that workers would get statutory sick pay from the first day they are off work, not the fourth, to help contain the virus.
Currently, employees have to wait three days until they qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and then receive £94.25 per week. There are certain conditions that need to be met in order to be eligible including earning an average of at least £118 per week but this only usually applied when employees were sick and not in isolation.
It’s unclear at this stage if employees would be able to self-certify beyond the initial 7 days, currently requested a doctor’s note from the 8th day where applicable.
UPDATED: The ACAS website says “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 sick pay announcement means those receiving statutory sick pay would get an extra £40 a week, paid for by their employers. Since 6 April 2014, employers have been unable to recover SSP and must bear the cost of the bill.
Information is currently changing daily and we always advise taking professional advice before making any decisions relating to employment sickness and law before carrying out any action.
The government is currently in a ‘containment’ phase and is advising the public to maintain a good level of hygiene standards, including washing hands regularly and disposing of used tissues.