There is no denying that we are living in uncertain times at the moment and the best thing you can do right now is educate yourself on your position and the different options that are available to you as an employee.

Working from home

The advice from the government is that employees should work from home wherever possible. If this is something that you have agreed upon with your employer, you need to make sure that you keep in regular communication with him or her. Moreover, you should still receive your wage in full, even though you’re now working from home instead.

Your rights if you do not want to go to work at the moment

There are many people who do not want to go to work at the moment, as they are worried that they may catch the coronavirus or bring it home to their families. This is especially the case if you fall into the high risk category, i.e. you are older or you have a pre-existing medical condition. It is important that your employer listens to your concerns and takes steps to protect you.

You should note, however, that if you do not want to go in, then you need to come to an agreement with your employer. You may decide to take unpaid leave or take the time off as a holiday. However, it is important to note that your employer does not have to agree to this.

Paying your wages

You may be wondering who is going to be paying your wages. If your employer keeps you on and you are still working, everything will operate as normal in this regard, even if you are working from home at the moment. However, your employer may decide to put you on temporary redundancy – otherwise known as a furlough – with the aim of taking you back on once everything has settled and there is more certainty.

In this case, they may be taking advantage of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Under this scenario, 80% of your monthly wages will be paid up to £2,500. It is up to your employer whether they decide to top this up or not. This has been introduced to try and stop businesses from making their workers redundant and it will hopefully protect the jobs of many.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has been extended to self-employed workers during the current climate. SSP is for employees that are not able to work because they are not well enough. If you are off work at the moment due to the coronavirus, this is something that you may be able to apply for.

You do not need to attend interviews of SSP in light of the current situation, as was previously the case. The existing rate for eligible employees is £94.25 per week for 28 weeks at the maximum. If you have been made redundant, and you are not eligible for usual pay, you may be able to get a statutory guarantee payment of as much as £29 per day from your employers.

In order to receive SSP, you must need to self-isolate due to the following reasons:

  • You have confirmed coronavirus
  • You have been told to self-isolate by NHS 111 or your doctor
  • Someone you live with has symptoms of the coronavirus
  • You have symptoms of the virus, for example, a new continual cough or a high temperature

If you live alone and you have any of the symptoms that have been discussed, you are going to need to self-isolate for seven days. However, if you live with someone else, you need to self-isolate for 14 days.

You can use the typical sickness reporting process in order to provide your employer with proof if required. It is a wise idea to take a look at the policy that your workplace has in place regarding workplace absences.

Final thoughts

We are facing unprecedented times at the moment and we are having to deal with something that no human has ever had to face in living memory. The government’s intervention is going to likely help a lot of employees, and hopefully it means that there will not be as many job losses as previously suspected, which is great news – but as the past couple of weeks have shown, we are having to take everything day by day.

If you’re still unsure of your rights as an employee, please do get in touch today for advice and support – we’d be happy to help.

This note comprises the view of the author as at 30th March 2020. This note is not a substitute for legal advice. Information may be incorrect or out of date and may not constitute a definitive or complete statement of the law or the legal market in any area. This note is not intended to constitute advice in any specific situation. You should take legal advice in specific situations. All implied warranties and conditions are excluded, to the maximum extent permitted by law