Coronavirus guidance

Given the ongoing spread of the Coronavirus, this page links to key external resources and advice that is being regularly updated by the government or the institutions involved.

Different employers will respond differently to Coronavirus. The following is some general guidance, however, as this guidance is changing daily, you should keep updated using the links to official sites below:

Employees should be covered by their usual sick policy. After seven days’ absence, you may be required to provide your employer with a medical certificate from your GP. The government has asked employers to be flexible because obtaining evidence may not be possible if you have been advised to self-isolate.

The government has said that people who have been asked by a medical expert to self-isolate will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), even if they have no symptoms. SSP is £94.25 per week and in the government’s Budget on 11 March, they announced this would be available from day one of self-isolation. It would be prudent to ask the medical expert if they are able to provide some form of proof of their advice for you to self-isolate. You can also click here for more information.

Where Community is recognised, many employers’ sick pay schemes are better than the statutory level. Employees may not qualify for their employer’s scheme if they are told to self-isolate despite not being ill and only the statutory level may be applied. However, reps should encourage employers to treat self-isolation as sick leave and follow the agreed policies.

If you have questions about how your sick pay policy is being applied, then get in touch.

We have sourced two digital skills courses, which may help members with some of the issues they might face during the outbreak.

General Guidance

The main government page is being updated as the situation develops. The government has also published more information on key workers for whom some school provision will remain available, click here to read more.

Alternatively, click here for the main NHS page.

ACAS has some guidance for employees.

If you are rep, see our page with more guidance by clicking here.

Self-employed

Self-employed workers cannot access statutory sick pay and, despite widespread calls, the government has not changed access to this.

If you have income protection cover of some kind or another insurance policy, then your policy may pay out for a period of self-isolation, but you will need to check with the insurance provider.

The government has now made some changes to how other benefits, such as Universal Credit and Employment Support Allowance, can be accessed by the self-employed.

How to avoid catching or spreading coronavirus

Do

  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin straight away and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell

Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by symptomatic individuals (advised by a healthcare worker) to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to other people.

Stay at home if you or someone you live with have coronavirus symptoms

Further guidance is on the NHS website.

You should also remember to contact your employer to keep them updated and advise them if you are self-isolating.

Our team are taking individual enquiries for members and advising according to their workplace.

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