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:
- Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
- Job Retention, furloughed workers and self-employed
- Claiming benefits
- Skills Toolkit
- Other sources of advice
Guidance is being updated in line with the changing situation on GOV.UK.
Anyone with COVID-19 symptoms or a positive test result should stay at home and self-isolate immediately. This is because you could pass the infection on to others, even if you don’t have symptoms.
You could be fined if you do not self-isolate following a notification by NHS Test and Trace. You may be entitled to a one-off payment of £500 through the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme if you are required to stay at home and self-isolate.
It may be difficult for some people to separate themselves from others in their household. Not all these measures will be possible if you are living with children or have caring responsibilities but follow this guidance to the best of your ability in these circumstances. Government advice to employers is to encourage their employees to work at home, wherever possible.
For more advice see the government's stay at home guidance,
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 cannot work because of coronavirus (COVID-19) You could get SSP if you’re self-isolating because:
- You or someone you live with has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
- You have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus
- You have been advised by a doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery
You can also get SSP if you have been advised to shield because you’re at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus.
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 are 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.
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.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021 and the level of grant available to employers under the scheme will stay the same until 30 June 2021.
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. The UK government recognises the continued impact that coronavirus (COVID-19) has had on the self-employed and announced in November 2020 that there would be a fourth grant.
At the March 2021 Budget it was confirmed that the fourth SEISS grant will be set at 80% of 3 months’ average trading profits, paid out in a single instalment, capped at £7,500. The fourth grant will take into account 2019 to 2020 tax returns and will be open to those who became self-employed in tax year 2019 to 2020. The rest of the eligibility criteria remain unchanged.
Your eligibility for the scheme will now be based on your submitted 2019 to 2020 tax return. This may also affect the amount of the fourth grant which could be higher or lower than previous grants you may have received.
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 2020, the Government increased the standard allowance in Universal Credit and the basic element in Working Tax Credit for 1 year. Both increased 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.
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.
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: 26 March 2021