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Covid-19 -What does it mean for Employees and Absence from Work


The Government now requires everyone in the UK to practice ‘social distancing’. This means we must try and stop unnecessary contact with other people. This is significant for our jobs, as ‘social distancing’ means working at home where possible, avoiding busy commutes on public transport and avoiding gatherings of people.

Employers are under an obligation now to help their workforce take these steps. Although not practical for all job roles, where possible, this might mean allowing employees to work from home, agreeing flexible working to help employees avoid peak time commutes and cancelling face to face meetings.

The concern for so many people at the moment is about their legal rights to pay should they need to be absent from the workplace due to COVID-19, whether due to symptoms, the requirement of social distancing or childcare issues.

In this factsheet, we have put together a summary of our advice on your rights to take time off work and/or receive pay if you are an employee and you cannot go to work. It also covers questions relating to annual leave and the new Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. We have tried to cover off the most common scenarios below.

COVID-19 Employment Absence

* A note on SSP (Statutory Sick Pay) – SSP is available to anyone isolating themselves from other people in such a manner as to prevent infection or contamination with COVID-19. This is from day 1 of any absence.

Laura Richards and Lucy Burrows – BPP Pro Bono Centre, BPP University