COVID-19: Support for employees

The Government has set out a number of measures to support employees affected by the disruption to businesses caused by COVID-19.

These measures include advice and support on:

Guidance is being updated in line with the changing situation on GOV.UK.

Staying at home

If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, please follow medical advice and stay at home. Do not leave your house for seven days from when your symptoms started.

Government advice to employers is to encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible

Find more advice on GOV.UK.

Sick pay (SSP)

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.

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.

To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.

You cannot get SSP if you’re self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason.

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

If you are not eligible for SSP – for example if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 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 are 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 COVID-19 or are advised to stay at home.

Please refer to our support for the self-employed page for more information.

Furloughed workers

If your employer cannot cover staff costs due to COVID-19, they may be able to access support to continue paying part of your wage, to avoid redundancies.

People and businesses across the UK are being provided with additional financial support as part of the government’s plan for the next phase of its response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Prime Minister announced on Saturday 31 October 2020.

The Prime Minister has announced that the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - also known as the Furlough scheme - will remain open until December, with employees receiving 80% of their current salary for hours not worked, up to a maximum of £2,500. Under the extended scheme, the cost for employers of retaining workers will be reduced compared to the current scheme, which ends today. This means the extended furlough scheme is more generous for employers than it was in October.

In addition, business premises forced to close in England are to receive grants worth up to £3,000 per month under the Local Restrictions Support Grant. Also, £1.1bn is being given to Local Authorities, distributed on the basis of £20 per head, for one-off payments to enable them to support businesses more broadly.

To give homeowners peace of mind too, mortgage holidays will also no longer end on Saturday 31 October 2020.

Further detail on the Job Retention Scheme and the Mortage Holiday will be published soon.

You will remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but does not have to. If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

The UK Government recognises the continued impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the self-employed and has taken action to provide support.

The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme Grant Extension provides critical support to the self-employed in the form of two grants, each available for three month periods covering November 2020 to January 2021 and February 2021 to April 2021.

View further detail regarding the SEISS

 

Claiming benefits

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 the Government 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.

If you have COVID-19 or are staying at home, you are now able to claim Universal Credit, and if required can access advance payments upfront without needing to attend a jobcentre.

View more information on Work and Financial Support.

Skills Toolkit

The Government has recently produced a new online Skills Toolkit which provides easy to access, free, high-quality digital and numeracy courses to help build up skills, progress in work and boost job prospects. The platform offers a range of courses at all levels from introductory to advanced and is open to everyone, whether they have been recently furloughed and want to learn new skills, are out of work or are just keen to keep busy during time spent at home.

Further support and resources

We will continue to keep this page up to date as more information becomes available.

In the meantime, you can also find support from the following resources:

Updated: 27 January 2021