Workers who absolutely cannot work from home are now being encouraged back to work if this can be done safely. Safety guidance can be found here.
There will be a significant impact on employees and the self-employed who are asked to self-isolate if they have symptoms of the virus, or if others in their household do, or if they take time off sick with the virus. Every person who takes these steps helps ensure lives are saved and must be supported.
You should work from home unless it is impossible for you to do so.
Sometimes this will not be possible, as not everyone can work from home. Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if you operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services.
Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If your employer cannot maintain their current workforce because operations have been severely affected by coronavirus (COVID-19), they can furlough employees and apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month.
This means that employers should not have to make you redundant. They can designate you as a furloughed worker and the Government will pay you 80% of your wages.
Employers should discuss with their staff and make any changes to the employment contract by agreement. When employers are making decisions in relation to the process, including deciding who to offer furlough to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.
To be eligible for the grant employers must confirm in writing to their employee confirming that they have been furloughed.
Further information about which employees this scheme applies to and how your employer can apply to the scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme
You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.
If you have COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’
To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.
Claiming Universal Credit
Whether you are currently in or out of work, if you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.
From 6 April we are increasing the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for 1 year. Both will increase by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This will apply to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.