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Self-Isolation and Sick Pay

With the high and rising number of employees needing to self-isolate while awaiting coronavirus (COVID-19) test results, businesses need to understand their sick pay obligations.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is available for workers who earn at least £120.00 per week on average. This applies to workers who are ill with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and those who are self-isolating or ‘shielding’ In line with UK current government COVID-19 guidance.

Unlike SSP for other illnesses, SSP for these coronavirus (COVID-19) related reasons can be paid from day 1 of the absence and SMEs can claim back the first 14 days of coronavirus (COVID-19) absence for any employee.

However, there is no eligibility for SSP if the period of illness or self-isolation is less than 4 days.

Using estimates based on the most recent government figures, because it takes 2-3 days on average to get a coronavirus (COVID-19) test result, around 800,000 working days are lost each week by workers waiting for results which turn out to be negative. This estimate is only for those who can’t work from home and have symptoms so mild they would otherwise be well enough to work.

Only a small percentage have to wait over 3 days for a result so the great majority will not be eligible for SSP.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is available for workers who earn at least £120.00 per week on average.

In addition to lost productivity, this is costing UK employees or businesses around £100,000,000 each week (and rising as the numbers requiring a test increases). Employees are either losing income or employers are paying company sick pay for employees to self-isolate at a time when many businesses are under severe financial stress.

This estimate is for the employed only. For the self-employed, it is likely to be a dead loss of income of a further £10,000,000 per week.

For advice on SSP and company sick pay, please contact our specialist team.

About this article

This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

About this article

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