Guidance

Guidance and support for employees during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Information for employees at work and on temporary leave (furlough).

Going to work

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.

See the guidance on working safely during coronavirus.

Staying at home

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started.

If you live with others and you’re the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 7 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill.

See the stay at home guidance for more information.

Sick pay

You can get £95.85 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

You could also get SSP if you cannot work and you’re:

Check you’re eligible for SSP.

SSP start date

You can get SSP for every day you were self-isolating if you started on or after 13 March.

If you started self-isolating before 13 March, you can get SSP from:

  • the fourth day you were sick - if you had coronavirus symptoms
  • 13 March - if you were self-isolating because someone you live with had symptoms

Proof of sickness

If you have coronavirus or are advised to stay at home, you can get an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. For coronavirus cases this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ (sometimes called a ‘sick note’) after 7 days of sickness absence.

If you’re self-employed or not eligible for SSP

If you’re not eligible for SSP – for example if you’re self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £120 per week – and you have coronavirus or are advised to stay at home, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or new style Employment and Support Allowance.

If you’re eligible for new style Employment and Support Allowance, it will now be payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have coronavirus or are advised to stay at home.

Workers on temporary leave (furloughed workers)

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus. This is known as being ‘on furlough’.

You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

Check if you could be covered by the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Claiming benefits

Whether you’re currently in or out of work, if you’re on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of coronavirus, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

We have increased the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for 1 year. Both have increased by £20 per week on top of planned annual uprating. This applies to all new and existing Universal Credit claimants and to existing Working Tax Credit claimants.

If you have coronavirus or are staying at home

You’re now able to claim Universal Credit, and if required can access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a jobcentre.

If you’re self-employed

You’re able to claim Universal Credit, providing you meet the usual eligibility criteria.

To support you with the economic impact of the outbreak, and allow you to follow government guidance on self-isolation and social distancing, we have temporarily relaxed the Minimum Income Floor. This applies to all Universal Credit claimants and will last for the duration of the outbreak.

New claimants will not need to attend the jobcentre to demonstrate gainful self-employment.

Support for rent costs

You should check your eligibility for Universal Credit, which is available for people in and out of work. Support for rental costs will be paid through Universal Credit.

Local Housing Allowance rates have been increased to the 30th percentile of market rents. This applies to all private renters who are new or existing Universal Credit housing element claimants, and to existing Housing Benefit claimants.

Published 3 April 2020