Coronavirus News: How Will Sick Pay Work?
Coronavirus has taken the world by storm and created a sense of uncertainty amongst the public. The daily coronavirus news about the pandemic can feel relentless at times. However, we are all looking for ways to feel safe and delay the spread. It has been advised to self-isolate if you have come into contact with someone infected with the coronavirus. As well as if you’ve fallen ill with symptoms of it, or travelled to an affected area.
However, many people will be worrying about what taking the time off work means for their paycheck.
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)?
Coronaviruses are a family of hundreds of viruses that can cause fever, respiratory problems, and sometimes gastrointestinal symptoms too. It is one of seven members of this family known to infect humans, as it is found to jump from animals to humans.
Since emerging in China in December 2019, this new coronavirus has caused a global health emergency, sickening almost 180,000 people worldwide, and so far killed more than 6,500. As of March 16, about 1,391 cases had been reported in the UK, and 35 people have died.
The virus can cause pneumonia. Those who have fallen ill are reported to suffer coughs, fever and breathing difficulties. In severe cases, there can be organ failure. As this is a viral pneumonia, antibiotics are of no use. The recovery depends on the strength of the immune system. Many of those who have died were already in poor health.
What is statutory sick pay?
Statutory sick pay, or SSP, is the minimum you must legally be paid if you’re off sick from work. It is paid to employees of companies, who are off sick for at least four days in a row. It is set at £94.25 a week for up to 28 weeks, although of course employers could pay more if they decide to.
Will I get paid if I self-isolate?
It depends on your company, as it varies. Many employees will have contracts that allow them their normal pay while they are unable to work because they are sick.
But the situation with self-isolation is more complicated… As workers may not actually be sick so will not automatically be entitled to their contractual sick pay. That decision will be down to employers.
Will self-employed people get sick pay?
While many staff will be entitled to sick pay during this time, self-employed workers will suffer a loss of income. So, broadly speaking, employees are entitled to sick pay and self-employed people are not. However, you might be entitled to claim benefits. If you’re already claiming benefits, you might get more money.
What if I’m on a zero-hour contract?
Workers on zero-hour contracts, casual and agency workers are entitled to SSP too. They will also need to have earned on average of at least £118 a week before tax over the past eight weeks. Employers may refuse you sick pay if you’re on a zero-hour contract but only if you don’t meet the above criteria.
Will I get paid if I need to care for somebody else?
Due to coronavirus news, if you have a relative who is ill your employer must give you time off to care for them. This could be for if you have children and their school is closed. But your employer is not forced to pay you unless your contract requires it.
*This piece was first published on 16 March