If an employee is advised to self-isolate to avoid the risk of spreading coronavirus, are they entitled to sick pay?
Current government guidance is that anyone who has a high temperature, a new continuous cough and/or a loss of, or change in, their normal sense of taste or smell should stay at home (ie self-isolate) for at least ten days from the onset of symptoms. If they live with others, everyone in the household should stay at home for 14 days, even if they have no symptoms. Someone without symptoms who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the date of the test.
People may also be instructed by the NHS test and trace service to self-isolate if they have had close recent contact with someone who has coronavirus (COVID-19).
Employees who are staying at home in accordance with government advice or advice from the NHS test and trace service, are entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP), even if they are not ill. The Government has introduced temporary legislation with the effect that individuals who are unable to work because they are self-isolating are deemed to be incapable of work for the purposes of SSP.
People who are required to self-isolate after travelling abroad are not entitled to SSP, unless they are ill.
Prior to 1 August 2020, employees who had been advised to "shield" due to being at very high risk from coronavirus because of certain underlying health conditions were entitled to SSP. From 1 August 2020 (or 16 August 2020 in Wales), the advice to shield was "paused". However, following the introduction of local COVID alert levels, some individuals may be advised to follow formal shielding advice again. An employee who has received a notification that they should shield again will be entitled to SSP.