Self-isolation and Statutory Sick Pay

Employers will have found that the coronavirus pandemic has not only caused a huge impact on not only their personal life, but also how they run their business.

Self-isolation is one of the biggest changes that have been brought in and is likely to cause a lot of HR headaches when working out when employees need to self-isolate and how they should be paid.

When do employees need to self-isolate?

Self-isolation means a person must stay in their home for a set period of time. This means you cannot go to a shop, have visitors or leave your house to work. You must self-isolate if:

  • You have tested positive for coronavirus
  • You have coronavirus symptoms 
  • You live with someone who, or someone in your support bubble, has tested positive or has symptoms
  • You are told by the NHS Test and Trace that you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive
  • You travel to a country on the UK’s ‘quarantine list’.

What do I pay self-isolating employees?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is not simple.

If an employee is able to work from home while self-isolating, then they should be paid their usual wage.

If an employee cannot work from home and must self-isolate then they are entitled to SSP if the reason for self-isolation is because they (or someone they live with or someone in their support bubble) has tested positive or has symptoms, or if they are contacted by Test and Trace. You should request an isolation note from the employee which can be issued from the NHS website.

However, if an employee has to self-isolate because they have travelled to a country on the UK’s ‘quarantine list’ then they are not entitled to SSP.

So, what do I do if an employee has travelled to another country and has to self-isolate?

In these instances, its important that you work with the employee to find a solution that helps both you and them. If working from home isn't an option due to the nature of the work they need to carry out, then this time could be taken as annual leave - if they have enough left. Alternatively, they could take it as unpaid leave.

Working together

It's a difficult time to be an employer at the moment, with rapid changes being brought in on a regular basis. Employline can help guide you through and ensure that you're fully aware of your obligations, as well as your rights. Get in touch today for more information.

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