Coronavirus: Working from home & statutory sick pay entitlements


In these challenging times, as a business you need to take control and support your employees.

It’s important to remember you always have a duty of care to your staff—so you can also refer to our advice regarding coronavirus and HR for business owners.

One step to take is to use preventative measures—that can include self-isolation.

If you need immediate assistance with any issue relating to this, don’t hesitate to contact us on 0800 028 2420.

We’re here to help and have a checklist for managing coronavirus in the workplace available for download.

You can also read our guide for details on some of the preventative measures you should adopt. As well as the statutory sick pay (SSP) rights of your employees.

Coronavirus—when to self-isolate

Under the government and NHS’ current advice, if someone develops symptoms they should self-isolate for 14 days.

They should also do this if one of their family members becomes ill.

You should inform staff members of the common symptoms. These include:

  • A dry cough.
  • A sore throat.
  • A high temperature.
  • Difficulty with breathing, in severe cases.

Self-isolation does mean cutting themselves off from the rest of the world in their home. If possible, that means not going out to buy any food or other essential supplies.

But how long should a coronavirus related working from home period be? 14 days is the suggested limit.

However, in the event of citywide (or nationwide) lockdowns that period may continue indefinitely.

How Peninsula Business Services can help

If you’re a small or medium-sized business owner, the Coronavirus presents an unprecedented situation.

With uncertainty ahead, you may need quick access to expert 24/7 HR support and employment law advice.

We’ve assisted tens of thousands of businesses since 1983. And we’re ready and available to with essential insights during this difficult and stressful time.

You can get in touch with us right away for support during the coronavirus crisis: 0800 028 2420.

Coronavirus—working from home tips

For businesses making a major and unprecedented shift to mass remote working, you’ll need to ensure staff have the right equipment to do their job.

You may also already have a working from home policy, but this could require adjustments due to the nature of the current circumstances.

For employees to successfully work from home, consider the following steps:

  • Make communication easy—use messaging services and your smartphones to stay in touch, along with standard emails.
  • Ensure staff members have equipment that allows them to do their job.
  • Distribute additional equipment as required, such as additional monitors.

You should also remember working from home health & safety tips. We have a lone working risk assessment that provides detailed advice.

However, you can take into consideration the following basics to ensure your staff remain safe while working from home.

It’s your responsibility as an employer to ensure their protection, so it’s important to make your employees aware of these:

  • If possible, conduct a risk assessment around the home.
  • Provide information and instructions on health & safety.
  • Take the right steps to remove dangers around the home.

Statutory sick pay (SSP) and the coronavirus

As of 13th March 2020, you must pay employees who are self-isolating under government advice.

So staff will receive sick pay from the very first day, rather than the fourth (which is what normally happens).

But how much is SSP? It’s £94.24 per week. An employer pays this for up to 28 weeks. The Conservative government is currently considering additional support measures in the event of a national lockdown.

So, coronavirus and SSP is set at the above total for now. But additional support may come into effect.

Similarly, if you decide to send an employee home as a precautionary measure, then you’ll need to pay them their full wage as normal.

That’s unless your contract of employment states otherwise.

But what is extended SSP in relation to coronavirus? Current SSP law and coronavirus regulations mean individuals self-isolating receive an extra £40 to cover the first four days. Taking the amount up to the standard £94.25 a week.

SSP can receive a temporary extension for employees who are:

  • Ill but unable to work due to the self-isolation requirements.
  • The payment from day one, rather than the standard day four.
  • Told to self-isolate by a doctor, with a supporting fit note.
  • Not eligible for SSP (such as low earners).

Casual and agency workers may also have entitlements for sick pay. The self-employed, however, aren’t.

Compassionate leave and coronavirus

Your business may face a situation where an employee isn’t sick, but they can’t come to work as a family member or relative is ill.

The coronavirus may, unfortunately, lead to the loss of a family member or relative.

In this event, you may want to review your bereavement leave policy. Although there’s no legal right to do offer pay during this time.

However, as the situation is unprecedented you may consider it good business practice to show compassion and support during this time.

That may include time off from work, with pay.

Need our help?

If you need assistance with running your business during the coronavirus crisis, you can contact us immediately for support: 0800 028 2420.

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