Coronavirus: information and updates

Employee rights and coronavirus

If you are self-isolating because of Government advice, ask your employer what options are available to you. Check their policy on:

Coronavirus advice for employers and employees (ACAS)

Guidance for employees working during coronavirus (GOV.UK)

If you’re self-isolating

Self-isolation will usually last 10 to 14 days. You may need to self-isolate because:

  • you have coronavirus
  • you have coronavirus symptoms, such as a high temperature or new continuous cough
  • someone in your household has coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms

Depending on your situation and your employer, you can:

  • take paid sick leave
  • get Statutory Sick Pay
  • work from home

Self-isolation guidance for households with possible coronavirus (GOV.UK)

Returning to work after shielding

The government advised that people who are extremely vulnerable to coronavirus stayed at home as much as possible. This is called ‘shielding’.

In England after 1 August, you can go back to work if you cannot work from home. Your workplace should follow the government guidance and make sure it’s ‘coronavirus-safe’ so you can return.

The government asks employers to make sure ‘robust measures’ are in place to keep employees who were shielding safe and to ease their transition back to work.

If you feel uncertain about returning to work, speak to your employer to find out their policies on coronavirus changes. Agree a plan for returning to work, including any adjustments you need.

Shielding and the expected changes

Shielding guidance (GOV.UK)

Shielding advice is different in Wales.

Coronavirus shielding guidance (

Coronavirus: if you are worried about working (Citizens Advice)

Warning If you’re in local lockdown

Rules may be different in your area.

Check GOV.UK


Call our helpline

Sick leave

If you need to self-isolate because you or someone you live with has coronavirus or coronavirus symptoms, you should be able to take sick leave and keep your job. But tell your employer as soon as possible.

Depending on your employer’s policy and your contract, your employer may ask you to take the paid sick leave in your contract or statutory sick pay (SSP). Ask your employer about their sick leave policy.

If your employer needs evidence, ask the NHS for an Isolation Note.

Get an Isolation Note (NHS)

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

You can now get SSP from the first day you’re self-isolating because of coronavirus. You can also get SSP if you need to care for someone else who is self-isolating. 

With SSP you can get £94.25 per week and your employer pays this for up to 28 weeks. To be eligible for SSP, you need to earn an average of at least £118 per week.

Check if you're eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (GOV.UK)

If you’re not eligible for SSP, you can claim:

If you are eligible, you will get New Style Employment and Support Allowance from day 1 of sickness if you either:

  • have coronavirus
  • are advised to stay at home

Benefits and coronavirus

Working from home

If you’re shielding or self-isolating but you’re not sick, ask if you can work from home instead of taking sick leave. You might do this because:

  • the NHS told you to shield for 12 weeks due to an underlying health condition
  • someone in your household is extremely vulnerable to coronavirus
  • someone in your household has coronavirus but you do not

Your employer should try to make reasonable adjustments for you to continue to work. For example:

  • providing IT and equipment so you can work at home
  • flexible working to manage childcare or look after an extremely vulnerable person

Every employer has someone responsible for providing equipment to work safely. If you’re not sure who this is, ask for the person responsible for health and safety.

Reasonable adjustments at work

Furlough and the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

Your employer might have kept you on the payroll, even if you could not work. This is known as being ‘on furlough’. If you were furloughed before 10 June, the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) helps pay your wages while you're on furlough.

Under the scheme the government pays:

  • 70% of your wages in September with a monthly cap of £2,187.50. Your employer pays the other 10% and your Employer National Insurance (ER NICS) and pension contributions.
  • 60% of your wages in October with a monthly cap of £1,875. Your employer pays the remaining 20% and your ER NICS and pension contributions.

Videos and free webinars about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (GOV.UK)

Employers can bring furloughed employees back to work part-time and still claim under the CJRS.

Warning Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme changes

The scheme closed on 30 June but you must have been on furlough for 3 weeks before 30 June to claim. If you were not on furlough before 10 June, your employer cannot use the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If you missed the furlough deadline or your salary is reduced because of furloughing, you may be eligible for benefits.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme changes (GOV.UK)

If you are self-employed

You cannot furlough if you are self-employed but you can claim Self-Employment Income Support instead.

Self-employment support during coronavirus

Going back to work if someone in your house was shielding

You can go back to work if your partner or someone you live with was shielding, as long as your workplace is following government guidance to make it ‘coronavirus-safe’.

If you’re worried, speak to your employer to find out their policies on coronavirus changes. You could try agreeing a plan for returning to work, including any adjustments you need to keep you and your household safe.

You should also follow the government guidance on what to do if you live with someone who is shielding.

Shielding and living with other people (GOV.UK)

Benefits if you cannot work

You may be able to claim Universal Credit, Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or other benefits if you are unable to work.  

Benefits and coronavirus

Working safely during coronavirus

The government has published online guides to help employers and employees return to work safely during coronavirus. All employers must carry out a risk assessment and share the results on their website. If you’re worried about your safety, ask your employer what measures will be in place to protect you.

Government guidance for making workplaces safe (GOV.UK)

If your employer does not carry out a risk assessment, or you believe the business should be closed, contact your local Trading Standards office.

Find your local Trading Standards office (GOV.UK)

Check which businesses should be closed (GOV.UK)

Last reviewed by Scope on: 10/07/2020

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