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The landscape regarding the Coronavirus and how it might impact on business, is changing on a regular basis. Employers and employees should keep a regular eye on updates from official channels, to understand what may be required of them as this issu
Following on from advice given in a previous article, statutory sick pay (SSP) is now payable immediately to employees as soon as they are advised (by a doctor or by the NHS 111 service) to self-isolate and to avoid attending work. ACAS suggests that, if an employer offers contractual sick pay as part of the employee’s terms and conditions, it is good practice to pay sick pay at that contractual rate rather than at SSP rate.
Employees must tell their employer as soon as possible if they cannot come into work, explaining the reason and how long they are likely to be off work for. The length of absence from work will probably be guided by the advice given by a medical professional.
If an employee needs to take time off work in order to help a dependant, they are entitled to do so. This might relate to providing childcare where schools have closed, or providing assistance to a dependant who is ill. It might be that an employee’s terms and conditions of employment allow for them to be paid for that time off, though there is no statutory right to such payment.
The amount of time that an employee requires to take off work must be “reasonable”. The ACAS guidance suggests that it may be, in appropriate circumstances, that an employee can combine “dependant” leave with annual leave to cover their time away from work. What is “reasonable” in the current climate may well be a longer period than would often be the case in normal circumstances, given the recommended self-isolation periods in relation to the virus.