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Sickness absence and sick pay

Noelle MurphyEditor's message: The unprecedented global spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) means that the focus on sickness absence and sick pay is greater than ever - employers now also have to deal with employees who have to self-isolate to prevent infection or contamination.

The Government has introduced measures to address this. From 13 March 2020, (or 16 April 2020 in relation to employees who are shielding) employees who:

  • have isolated themselves to prevent infection or contamination with coronavirus, because they:
    • have coronavirus symptoms and are staying at home for seven days from when symptoms started; or live with someone who has coronavirus symptoms (and is therefore staying at home for seven days), and are staying at home for 14 days; or
    • were staying at home for 14 days and develop coronavirus symptoms and are therefore staying at home for seven days from when their symptoms started; or
    • have been defined in public health guidance as vulnerable and are at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus because of an underlying health condition and have been notified that they should shield for a specified period; and
  • are unable to work because they have self-isolated,

are deemed to be incapable of work and are therefore entitled to statutory sick pay (provided that they otherwise qualify).

Statutory sick pay will also be payable from day one (rather than day four) where an employee is unable to work due to coronavirus.

Noelle Murphy, senior HR practice editor

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HR and legal information and guidance relating to sickness absence and sick pay.