Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): what to do if you’re employed and cannot work

Guidance for people who are employed and cannot work due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

If your employer has less or no work for you because of coronavirus (you’ve been put on furlough)

If your employer has less or no work for you because of coronavirus, they could get a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme grant to help them to carry on paying you.

This is known as being put ‘on furlough’ or ‘on flexible furlough’, and means that you’ll get at least 80% of your normal pay.

If your income is reduced because of these changes, you might be able to get regular payments to help.

Check what regular payments you could get.

Regular payments if your workplace is closed or you have reduced hours

If your workplace has been told to close, or your employer has less work for you than normal, you might be able to get New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA), Universal Credit or Pension Credit.

New Style Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)

You could get New Style JSA if:

  • you usually work less than 16 hours a week

  • you’re under State Pension age

  • you have made enough National Insurance contributions over the last 2 to 3 years

Your savings and partner’s income will not affect how much you get. You might be able to get New Style JSA at the same time as Universal Credit.

Find out more or apply for New Style JSA.

Universal Credit

You could get Universal Credit if:

  • you have less than £16,000 in savings

  • you or your partner is under State Pension age

If you’re already getting tax credits, they will stop when you or your partner applies for Universal Credit.

You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time as New Style JSA. Depending on your circumstances, Universal Credit can include additional amounts for things like rent or the costs of raising children.

Find out more or apply for Universal Credit.

Pension Credit

You could get Pension Credit if:

  • you and your partner have both reached State Pension age

  • your weekly income is below £173.75 (for single people) or £265.20 (for couples)

You might still be able to get it even if you have savings, have a pension or own your home.

Find out more or apply for Pension Credit.

If you’re off work because you have coronavirus symptoms, or are self-isolating or shielding

Tell your employer if you have coronavirus symptoms, or are self-isolating or shielding.

If you cannot work from home

You should work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home, you might be able to get:

  • Test and Trace Support Payment

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

  • New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

  • Universal Credit

  • Pension Credit

Test and Trace Support Payment

Your local council might be able to give you £500 if:

  • you’ve been told to self-isolate

  • you live in England

  • you’re on a low income

  • you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result

Find out more or apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

You may be able to get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer for every day of work you miss because of coronavirus. If you’re off work for 7 or more days, your employer may ask you to provide proof that you are self-isolating because of coronavirus.

You may be able to get Universal Credit or Pension Credit at the same time as SSP. The amount you get may be reduced by the amount of your SSP.

Check if you’re eligible for SSP.

New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)

You might be able to get New Style ESA if either:

  • you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work

  • you or your child has coronavirus, is self-isolating or is shielding

You can apply for it if:

  • you cannot get SSP

  • you’re under State Pension age

  • you have made enough National Insurance contributions over the last 2 to 3 years

  • you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed

Your savings and partner’s income will not affect how much you get. You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time as New Style ESA.

Find out more or apply for New Style ESA.

Universal Credit

You could get Universal Credit if:

  • you have less than £16,000 in savings

  • you or your partner is under State Pension age

If you’re already getting tax credits, they will stop when you or your partner applies for Universal Credit.

You might be able to get Universal Credit at the same time as SSP or New Style ESA. Depending on your circumstances, Universal Credit can include additional amounts for things like rent or the costs of raising children.

Find out more or apply for Universal Credit.

Pension Credit

You could get Pension Credit if:

  • you and your partner have both reached State Pension age

  • your weekly income is below £173.75 (for single people) or £265.20 (for couples)

You might still be able to get it even if you have savings, have a pension or own your home. You can get Pension Credit at the same time as SSP.

Find out more or apply for Pension Credit.

Published 8 April 2020
Last updated 3 November 2020 + show all updates
  1. Updated the guidance to clarify eligibility conditions for Universal Credit, New Style Jobseeker's Allowance and New Style Employment and Support Allowance; to add Pension Credit, and the Test and Trace Support Payment as other financial help that can be claimed.

  2. Published updated guidance on when you must stay at home and may be able to claim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

  3. Added that interviews and assessments are by telephone. You should only go to a jobcentre if asked to do so.

  4. Added more information about who might be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance because of coronavirus.

  5. First published.