There is a great deal of information available in news reports and on line. Although where do you stand in all of the chaos?
My employer has asked me to isolate at home: will I be paid?
If you are on a standard employment contract the answer is yes. If your employer is asking you to stay home, they have taken that decision and you should still be paid. Many office workers will be able to work from home though, so it becomes a usual working day.
If you cannot work from home (eg you’re a factory worker) it’s more challenging but as it’s at the employer’s request they should still pay you.
Some employment contracts contain a right to suspend briefly without pay but this is only in limited circumstances and is highly unlikely to apply to a ‘suspected illness’.
Unless there is a clear contractual right to suspend without pay then employers who insist upon this could face claims for breach of contract and unlawful deduction of wages.
I’m back from an affected area. I feel fine but I’m stuck at home on government advice, will I be paid?
If you can work from home, and your employer can help you to do that by providing relevant equipment then you can carry on working and being paid as normal.
However, if it’s not possible for you to work at home (because you work in a factory or warehouse for example) and you have been told by a medical professional (NHS 111 or a doctor) to self-isolate the advice from the Government is that employees or workers are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. This includes individuals who may be a carrier of COVID-19 who may not have symptoms.
I’m on a zero-hours contract, will I get paid if I’m told to self-isolate?
Some casual workers and workers on zero-hours contracts are likely to receive at least statutory sick pay. Some other zero-hours workers currently will not get paid if they are told to self-isolate unless the employer pays them voluntarily.
Statutory sick pay (SSP) is only paid to those earning a certain average amount. Zero-hours contract workers will therefore only get SSP if they earn a minimum of £118 per week over the previous reference period (usually 13 weeks).
Historically, SSP was not paid for the first three days of illness. The government has confirmed that SSP will be paid from day one, as part of its emergency coronavirus legislation. It is currently paid at a rate of up to £94.25 a week for up to 28 weeks, increasing to £95.85 a week from April 2020. The new emergency coronavirus legislation paying SSP during the first three days of absence will amount to around £40 per employee affected.
Those on zero-hours contracts who do not meet the minimum earning requirements will still not be eligible for SSP at all unless further legislation is introduced. They can access the benefit system but that may be very slow and cumbersome.