Coronavirus – Employment Advice

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Obviously, this is a worrying time for all, with potentially far reaching financial implications for businesses and their employees. As such we wanted to bring you the most up to date information we have regarding employment:

Employee sickness/self-isolation

If your employee has been advised to self-isolate, then they will be entitled to 14 days statutory sick pay. Under the new budget, statutory sick pay will begin from day 1 not day 4. Currently up until the 5th April 2020 the rate is £94.25. From the new tax year, the rate increases to £95.85.

To help small employers, the government will reimburse these 14 days statutory sick pay. However this is only for illnesses related to the coronavirus.

If your employee chooses to self-isolate as they are worried about catching coronavirus and don’t want to travel or come into work their rights are more limited.

Employers are required to listen to the employees concerns and try and find a way to work around it, for example, working from home. If this is not possible, you can ask the employee to take the time off as holiday or unpaid leave.
 
What if an employee comes to work ill

Staff members should be told that if they do display any of the symptoms that they need to contact their GP or the NHS 111 service. 

In the situation where an employee is displaying symptoms, but the GP does not certify the employee as unfit for work, there may be grounds for briefly suspending them on precautionary grounds, which is likely to be on full pay. 

Remember, there is an implied duty for both employers and employees to look after each other’s health and safety, this duty must include complying with self-isolation advice so no one else will get infected.
 
Annual Leave

You may also find your staff cancelling their holiday if they were planning to travel to infected areas, or falling ill while on their annual leave.  As an employer, you should be sympathetic to these requests and allow them to cancel without losing their entitlement, and if an employee falls ill while on annual leave, they may be entitled to claim that time off as sick leave and gain back their annual leave entitlement. 

As an employer, providing it is stated in your employment contracts, you still have the right to prohibit staff from carrying forward any annual leave entitlement  unused by the end of the holiday year.

In addition, employers have the right to tell employees when to take their annual leave if they need to.

If the business does decide to do this, they must tell the employees at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need people to take.

For example, if they want to close for 5 days, they should tell everyone at least 10 days before.

This could affect holiday that employees have already booked or planned. So the business should:
•    explain clearly why they need to do this;
•    try and resolve anyone’s worries about how it will affect their holiday entitlement or plans.
 
Business ClosureIf you as a business must shut and you ask staff not to come into work, they are still entitled to be paid, even if you are unable to provide them work to do at home. However, paying staff for not working won’t be possible for many businesses, so here are options for your staff: 
•    Short term lay offs. To do this you must have an express term in the employment contract or if not, it can be achieved through consultation with the employees. By laying off on a temporary basis, this will avoid redundancy.
•    If an employee has been with you less then 2 years, you can dismiss staff without making them redundant.
•    Offer the employees unpaid leave.
•    Insist the employees take paid holiday leave.
•    Talk to your employees about reducing their hours.
•    If this crisis is long term, then consider redundancies.
 

Self Employed Workers

Being self-employed usually means if you don’t work you don’t get paid. If you are forced to self-isolate but are self-employed you would not be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as this is only available to those with an employer.

However self-employed people who are unable to work could be entitled to Employment and Support Allowance – ESA. This is a payment for when you are unable or restricted from working due to illness. There are many criteria you must match, including two years of current National Insurance contributions with your last two tax returns, but you could be entitled to up to £111.65 per week.
 
We are here to help, day or night, so please if you need anything at all, call us on 01273 326 556 or email the team on payroll@src-time.co.uk
 

 

SRC-Time Ltd
2nd Floor
Stanford Gate
South Road
Brighton
BN1 6SB

T: +44 (0) 1273 326 556
F: +44 (0) 1273 733 827
E: info@src-time.co.uk

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