|Online resources for businesses and employers
For the latest information and advice, employers and business owners should visit guidance for employees, employers and businesses. Check the page regularly for updates and subscribe to receive email alerts.
What support is there for employees / self-employed affected by coronavirus?
There are a number of measures:
Statutory Sick Pay
Minimum Income Floor
‘New Style’/Contributory Employment and Support Allowance
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will now be available for eligible individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 or those who are unable to work because they are self-isolating in line with Government advice. This is in addition to the change announced by the Prime Minister that SSP will be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals.
People who are advised to self-isolate for COVID-19 will soon be able to obtain an alternative to the fit note to cover this by contacting NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. This can be used by employees where their employers require evidence. Further details will be confirmed shortly. In the meantime employers should use their discretion.
Those who are not eligible for SSP, for example the self-employed or people earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit or Contributory Employment and Support Allowance:
for the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the Universal Credit Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed for those who have COVID-19 or are self-isolating according to government advice, ensuring self-employed claimants will receive support
people will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments upfront without the current requirement to attend a jobcentre if they are advised to self-isolate
contributory Employment and Support Allowance will be payable, at a rate of £73.10 a week if you are over 25, for eligible people affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating in line with advice from Day 1 of sickness, rather than Day 8.
Gig Economy Workers
What are you doing to help gig economy workers who will be affected by Covid-19?
⦁ Many gig economy workers will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (i.e. those who are employed and earn more than £118 per week from a single employer). These workers will benefit from the changes to Statutory Sick Pay announced in Budget.
⦁ Those gig economy workers not eligible for statutory sick pay (e.g. the self-employed and very low earners) will be able to receive support from the benefits system.
⦁ Gig economy workers who have paid sufficient NICs contributions, even through multiple jobs, will be entitled to new style ESA. If they haven’t made sufficient contributions, they can apply for Universal Credit.
Claiming SSP Rebate
The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:
this refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note
eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force
the government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP