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 no work for you to do (you’ve been put ‘on furlough’)

Your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate and put you on temporary leave instead. This is known as being put ‘on furlough’.

Your employer could get a grant using the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to help them pay for some of your wages. Check if your employer can use it.

If your salary is reduced because of these changes, check if you’re eligible for Universal Credit.

Financial support if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19)

Tell your employer that you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). They should tell you if you’re covered by their sick leave policy.

After the first 7 days of absence, they may also ask you for an isolation note to show you cannot work because of coronavirus. You can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you could get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for every day you’re in isolation. You must self isolate for at least 4 days to be eligible.

If your self-isolation began before 13 March 2020

If you were self-isolating before 13 March 2020 because you had symptoms, your SSP will begin from the fourth day.

If you were self-isolating before 13 March because someone in your household had symptoms, you cannot get SSP.

Check you’re eligible for SSP.

If someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus

You must stay at home if someone you live with has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). This is sometimes known as ‘self-isolating’.

If you can work from home

You should work from home if you can. Speak to your employer about working from home.

If you cannot work from home

Tell your employer that a member of your household has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) and that you must self-isolate. They should tell you if you’re covered by their sick leave or special leave policy.

If you cannot get sick pay from your employer, you might be able to get Statutory Sick Pay from day one of self-isolation.

If you’re not eligible for Statutory Sick Pay

You can apply online for Universal Credit if you cannot get Statutory Sick Pay.

You might also be able to:

You might also be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance if one of the following applies:

  • you or your child might have coronavirus or you’re recovering from it
  • you or your child are self-isolating because you came into contact with someone who might have coronavirus
  • you have been told to stay at home for at least 12 weeks by the NHS because you’re at high risk of severe illness

You do not need to go into a Jobcentre Plus office to apply or get a payment.

Processing your application

Because of coronavirus (COVID-19), it might take longer than usual to process your application and answer questions about it. We apologise for these delays – we know this is a difficult time.

Advance payments

If you do not have enough money to live on while you wait for your first Universal Credit payment you can ask for an advance payment.

Published 8 April 2020
Last updated 15 May 2020 + show all updates
  1. Added more information about who might be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance because of coronavirus.

  2. First published.