I have COVID-19 or I need to self-isolate and can’t continue working – will I still get paid?

If you have COVID-19 you should receive either statutory sick pay (SSP) or your company’s sick pay, depending on what your employment contract states.

There was some question over whether someone who wasn’t actually ill but couldn’t work as they are self-isolating was entitled to sick pay.  This question has now been answered by the introduction of new laws surrounding the payment of SSP.

From Friday 13 March 2020 and in the following circumstances you will be entitled to receive SSP from day 1 (as opposed to the normal day 4) if your absence from work is related to:

  • You have COVID-19 and you can’t work as the symptoms are no longer mild.
  • You self-isolating for 7 days because you have mild symptoms.
  • You self-isolating for 14 days because someone you live with has even mild symptoms of COVID-19.
  • You have been told to self-isolate by NHS 111 or a doctor e.g. you are in a high-risk category.

If you need to provide evidence that you are self-isolating beyond the first 7 days of absence you get an ‘isolation note’ from NHS 111 online or from the NHS website.

Whilst you might feel tempted to keep working from home whilst suffering mild symptoms, if for example SSP does not cover your weekly wages, you should not do this if you are unable to carry out your job properly as you may face disciplinary action for poor performance.  Whether this action can be successfully defended or not will depend on your particular circumstances.


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