KLG is open 8.30am-5.30pm, 5 days a week and fully operational during the COVID-19 quarantine. We are available to serve our clients , as well as serving potential new clients.

We provide Legal & HR advice to protect and support your business.

The Covid-19 virus, more commonly known as just the “coronavirus” has infected over 170,000 people worldwide and more than 6,000 casualties have been recorded. Even within a few days of publishing this blog, that number is sure to rise as the virus continues to spread globally. In England and Wales, we are not yet on “lockdown”, but the impact of the virus has certainly been felt by employees across the country.

We have answered some of the most commonly asked questions regarding your rights as an employee during this difficult time. Please note, the information below should not be misconstrued as legal or medical advice. If you have been made redundant, or feel you have been dismissed unfairly because of the Coronavirus outbreak, please call our legal experts today to request an initial consultation.

Will I still get paid if I am off sick with the coronavirus or in isolation?

If you are off sick with the coronavirus you would be entitled to the same sick leave and sick pay as if it was any other illness (e.g. tonsillitis). This could include company sick pay. You should follow the company sickness policy to the best of their abilities as usual.

This will also apply if you have been advised by the NHS 111 service or a doctor to self-isolate.

Under new government measures implemented specifically for the coronavirus, the government will meet the cost of coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay for small businesses with under 250 employees for 14 days. Statutory Sick Pay is currently £94.25 per week for up to a period of 28 weeks.

Employees off sick from work following medical advice (relating to the coronavirus) will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay from day one, rather than day four under the usual measures, in the near future when emergency legislation is implemented.

Your may need to make certain allowances. For example, you may potentially not be able to get a fit note in the prescribed timeframe. The government have announced that within a few weeks you will be able to use an NHS 111 notification as evidence for absence from work where necessary.

If your employer has instructed you to take time off from work you will be entitled to leave on full pay.

I am in self-isolation as a precaution but I feel ok to work. Can I still work?

You will not be allowed to visit your place of work but you can still work from home if you feel fit to work and you have the appropriate working from home equipment.

Your suitability to work from home will depend on your usual place of work and the tasks that you normally perform. For example, if you are a factory worker it would not be possible for you to work from home, but it may be possible if you work in a desk or office based role.

I am scared of catching the coronavirus. Can I just not attend work?

If you do not attend work without authorisation you may face disciplinary action, including dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct.

It is best practice to discuss your health and safety concerns with your employer and to try and find a resolution. This could involve the employee taking annual leave or unpaid leave, or even arranging a flexible working arrangement. However, it must be noted that the employer has no obligation to provide you with this.

It is important for your employer to consider the circumstances of your case. For example, if you are a high-risk individual then your employer may be more understanding.

What will happen if I need to look after an elderly relative?

You are allowed to take time off for dealing with an emergency involving a dependant. This can include looking after a close family member if they fall sick.

There is no statutory right for you to receive this time off paid.

If school’s close I will need to look after my children or arrange childcare. How can I do this and work?

As above, you are allowed time off for dealing with an emergency involving a dependant. This should certainly cover arranging childcare or looking after children. Again, there is no statutory right for you to receive this time off paid.
Another option would be asking your employer for unpaid time off.

I had a holiday booked abroad. Can my employer force me to cancel my holiday?

Your employer may ask you where you are going and they may try to reason with you regarding your proposed holiday plans. For example, they may set out the health and safety risks of your trip and the likely isolation that will need to take place upon your return to the country.

Legally, they can cancel a period of pre-authorised annual leave as long as they provide the appropriate notice. However, this is rare in practice and a good employer would not wish to do this.

I am on a zero hours contract. Will I get paid if I have to isolate?

This will depend upon your contract. Some contracts have provisions for statutory sick pay whereas others do not.

If there is no right in your contract your employer may decide to pay you but there is no right for them to do this.

I have been asked to work from home but I do not have the space at home. What can I do?

It is advisable to discuss your situation with your employer. Most employers are understanding and will aim to support you with working from home, especially in the current climate, where it will be in their best interests to support you in completing your tasks.

I am pregnant and I do not feel comfortable to go into work. What can I do?

Those who are pregnant have now been included in the group of people “at increased risk of severe illness from coronavirus” under government guidelines.

You should speak with your employer to discuss your concerns and see whether you can work from home. Click here for further guidance.
If you have been advised by the NHS 111 service or a doctor to self-isolate you should be treated as if you are on sick leave and your employer’s usual sick policy should apply.

My employer has said my job may be made redundant. What rights do I have?

You will be entitled to the same rights as in any other redundancy scenario. This includes the right to a fair consultation, fair selection and the right to be offered suitable alternative employment.

Read more on how to handle redundancy here: https://www.klglaw.co.uk/Employment-Law-News/How-to-handle-redundancy.html.

I am self employed and I do not think I will receive any income for several months. What can I do now?

You can apply for Universal Credit via the government website. The amount you are entitled to will depend on your situation. For example, if you are single and 25 and over the standard monthly allowance is £317.82.

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We suspect that immediate legislation may be passed which could change the information above. For up to date advice on the coronavirus please refer to the government advice pages: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response.

If you are looking for further guidance in relation to any employment matter please contact our team of employment law specialists contact us today on 0330 221 0684 or by e-mailing info@klglaw.co.uk.

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Tel: 0330 221 0684
Email: info@klglaw.co.uk

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