Public health crises like the coronavirus pandemic can move fast. Our jobs and workplaces are often the first things that change.

Your health comes first. If you self-isolate or feel unwell, the world of work can seem far away.

But we all have bills to pay. For many of us, the biggest worry is what will happen to our pay.

Here are some things we think are good to know about your rights if you have to take time off work or your job situation changes.

Your salary

Many businesses are working as usual. Their employees are being paid as usual.

Other businesses have needed to change or stop working. The Government's coronavirus job retention scheme aims to help them keep paying their workers. To learn more, visit Your guide to furlough on our website.

Sick Pay

If you are unwell, you may qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from your employer. You may also qualify if you need to self-isolate after being in contact with someone who has the coronavirus.

Let your employer know you are self-isolating due to coronavirus concerns. You can receive sick pay from the first day. The minimum payment by law is £94.25 per week. Your employer may pay you more than that.

For the first seven days, you can self-certify. After that, you will need to give your employer a note. Your GP may give you a note if you have been unwell. If you are self-isolating or have coronavirus symptoms, you can ask the NHS for an isolation note.

Zero-hour contracts and seasonal work

If you have a zero-hour contract, or you do agency work, you are also entitled to SSP. You need to have earned at least £118 a week (before tax) on average for the last eight weeks. You will get sick pay for the days you were due to work.

If your employer refuses and you aren't happy with the reasons they give, talk to Citizens Advice about your options. You can tell your employer they need to fill in a government sick pay form. In the form, they must explain their reasons for refusing. They need to give you the completed form. You can then talk to HM Revenue and Customs to see if your employer is right or not.

Many seasonal workers are affected by the pandemic, such as people who normally work in holiday parks or theme parks, and exam invigilators for schools and universities. If you are a seasonal worker, contact your employer to ask about measures they have put in place to help workers.

Self-employed people

Are you a self-employed worker? Have you lost income and need to take time off due to the pandemic? If so, you may be able to get help from the contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

The Government’s Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will give grants to self-employed people who qualify for support for a three months. HMRC will contact people about the scheme.

Universal Credit can also help self-employed people with businesses that have been running for more than 12 months. The amount is based on the national minimum wage.

Citizens Advice can help self-employed people to claim Universal Credit.

Claiming benefits

If you already claim benefits such as a Personal Independent Payment (PIP), Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit, the pandemic won’t affect what you get paid.

You don't need to take any action. Going to Jobcentres in person isn’t required at the moment. Do you claim Universal Credit and think you have been affected by coronavirus? If so, get in touch with your work coach using your online journal.

If you want to make a new claim for benefits, you can do so.

Learn more about benefits at the Government's Understanding Universal Credit website.

Taking time off to look after someone

Schools are closed. If you need to take time off work to look after your children, you can’t face disciplinary action or lose your job. You won't need to make the time up later on.

This is called dependant leave.

But you aren't entitled by law to be paid if you take dependent leave, so check with your employer.

This is also true if you need time off work to look after someone else, like a partner or an older relative, due to a sudden event.

Do you want to take time off work because you have a vulnerable person in your household and are worried about passing the virus to them? If so, talk to your employer as early as possible to discuss your options.

Find out more from ACAS.

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Your Comments

Kelly says:

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 05:24
Comment
Hi my partner works nights as delivery person if he's work closes how will they pay him and how does the 2500 a month thing work that gov promise

Tracy Taylor says:

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 20:55

In reply to by Kelly

Comment
The government are paying 80% of whatever your husband would earn based on the earnings over the previous weeks, I think it’s 17 weeks but not 100% up to a maximum of £2000 a week

Gail says:

Tue, 05/05/2020 - 13:36

In reply to by Tracy Taylor

Comment
Will the workers get the 80% till they go back to work

Tanya says:

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 19:56

In reply to by Kelly

Comment
Hi. The 2500 figure is the maximum per month. What you will get is 80% of your income, upto 2500 a month

Steve foster says:

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 16:41

In reply to by Tanya

Comment
You will only get the 80% if you’re company intends to access the job retention scheme and you become a Furloughed worker. This would mean they keep you on the payroll rather than laying you off or make you redundant.

Tania says:

Sun, 04/26/2020 - 21:01

In reply to by Steve foster

Comment
I have had a letter to tell me to shield for 12 weeks my employer will not access the government 80% what can I do

Christina says:

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 23:43

In reply to by Kelly

Comment
I'm currently living with elderly parents and l work at a supermarket where lm in cinstant close contact with customers. I had a choice risk taking this virus home and giving to my parents or take unpaid leave. So l took unpaid leave. I had no choice that or risk their lives. So now what do l do for my income? I've tried to find alternative accommodation but can't get any l can afford. I would really appriciate some help. ..some option other than risking my parents lives when l return to work or get into debt.

Sally says:

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 17:36

In reply to by Kelly

Comment
I need to know if flowers factory is important to work this bad time

Legal Choices says:

Tue, 04/07/2020 - 16:28

In reply to by Kelly

Thanks for getting in touch. We've received hundreds of responses to our articles about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. Although we’d like to respond to everyone in person, we can’t. But hope these resources will help you:

Pay and employment - The Money Advice Service - www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you#if-youre-employed

Supporting a self isolating dependant - The Money Advice Service - www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you#if-you-cant-work-because-you-have-to-look-after-someone-with-coronavirus

Claiming benefits - Understanding Universal Credit - www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

Unfortunately we can't comment on whether a business is classed as essential.

Carol Macdonald says:

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 05:12

In reply to by Kelly

Comment
I usually clean holiday cottages I'm self employed but know I have no work due to the virus I entitled to any support?

Sheree Evans says:

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 07:47
Comment
I work in two different school 1 as a dinner lady and 1 as a cleaner I'm on a low based income I've had to come out of work as I suffer with chronic asthma and have been told it will be for 12 weeks how do I claim any ssp please help

Linda Stephenson says:

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 18:17

In reply to by Sheree Evans

Comment
I am over 70 and at this time of year I invigilate at schools and universitys. Now this is not possible everything has been cancelled. I relyed on this money as l only recieve state pension. Will l be able to claim any monies if so what.

Kellymarie Dimbleby says:

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 16:07

In reply to by Sheree Evans

Comment
Hi,
My partner is a manager and I do know to claim ssp you have to make the claim through your employer

Stay safe

Sally says:

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 10:53

In reply to by Sheree Evans

Comment
Am in the same position
I work as a cleaner in a school & suffer from c.o.p.d.
Have self isolated but no one is telling us how to get a sick note , as my company insist I have to have one

Joanne says:

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 18:48

In reply to by Sally

Comment
Hi .. go on to NHS 111 the form is on there that you need

Ray says:

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 22:30

In reply to by Sally

Comment
https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

Karen says:

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 18:52

In reply to by Sally

Comment
I am a healthcare assistant in private sector
Being told i will only get ssp i am isolating due to being diabetic no spleen and having pulmonary sarcoidosis

Donnajackson says:

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 14:41

In reply to by Sally

Comment
I work in a cash and carry but have emphazima. I called my doctor who told me I should stay home for twelve weeks. He issued me with a sick note. And work told me I would get sap. The only thing is this isn’t my choice I was told to stay home. Should I be entitled to 80 percent of my wage.

Gail says:

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 15:08

In reply to by Sally

Comment
I'm the same, rang the doctor and they said get a note online and so did nhs, but all everyone can find online is if you have symptoms or your living with someone who has, I don't know what to do it's driving me loopy.x

Lynsey says:

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 21:51

In reply to by Sally

Comment
Hey Sally you can go to www.111.co.uk I think and you fill out form then download a sick note directly from them then send it to your employer XxX good luck

Terry says:

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 22:34

In reply to by Sally

Comment
You get sick note from your doctor

Rachel says:

Sun, 03/29/2020 - 14:18

In reply to by Sally

Comment
If you have self isolated you need to go onto 111.nhs.co.uk/isolation-note and follow questions. Provide the note to your employer and they will pay you ssp for the period on the note. If your employer has asked you to isolate for 12weeks due to under lying health issues they should provide you with a letter to say so and then put you on ssp pay too.

Paul Owens says:

Tue, 04/28/2020 - 20:24

In reply to by Sally

Comment
The nhs letter is proof it tell them you have to isolate for 12 weeks I received the same letter I took it to my manager and they accepted a copy of the letter as proof

Kathy says:

Thu, 04/30/2020 - 23:22

In reply to by Sally

Comment
I all so have c.o.p.d ,get in touch with your Dr to tell them your self isolating because of your condition,and you need sick note for employer,this is what I did ,you should get £94.00 a week from day 1 of sickness as it is because of corona virus rules from goverment,it's all you're entitled to but I hope it helps,stay well and stay safe.kathy😁

Julia Griggs says:

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 02:26

In reply to by Sheree Evans

Comment
I work as a cleaner at a high school and on very low income the school is open at the moment if it was to close is there any thing I can claim I don't pay tax or n I.

Legal Choices says:

Wed, 04/08/2020 - 08:49

In reply to by Sheree Evans

Thanks for getting in touch. We've received hundreds of responses to our articles about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. Although we’d like to respond to everyone in person, we can’t. But hope these resources will help you:

Getting a sick note - NHS - https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) - Gov.uk - www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay

80% of pay - The Money Advice Service - www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you#if-youre-employed

Claiming benefits - Understanding Universal Credit - www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

We have also recently updated this article, which now contains information about seasonal contracts.

Paula says:

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 09:35
Comment
I am a hospitality worker and have worked as a receptionist for 5 years in a large hotel chain

My daughter who is 17 years old has a cough and cold. Not sure if it is the virus but I have self isolated myself but I feel
Fine.

As I only work 16 hours a week I have recently had a week of due to my daughter being ill

Can I claim ssp for the 16 hours I have missed and would I be able to claim again if I thought one of my family I live with has Symptoms in the future.

Thanks

Legal Choices says:

Wed, 04/08/2020 - 11:04

In reply to by Paula

Thanks for getting in touch. We've received hundreds of responses to our articles about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. Although we’d like to respond to everyone in person, we can’t. But hope these resources will help you: 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) - Gov.uk - www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay

Time off work to look after someone - ACAS - www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus/time-off-work-to-look-after-someone

Unfortunately, we can't answer specific questions about SSP or time off work.

Susan Bartlam says:

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 10:39
Comment
I work part time iv had to self isolate as I suffer with asthma my employer has told me I cant get sick pay as I dont earn enough what can I claim

Sue Dooley says:

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 05:58

In reply to by Susan Bartlam

Comment
This is my situation and I need to know what my right are please.

Lorna says:

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 06:18

In reply to by Susan Bartlam

Comment
You are entitled to sick pay.
The payment is pro rota if you work part time.

Jackie says:

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 09:28

In reply to by Susan Bartlam

Comment
I have had to self isolate for 14 days as a family member had symptoms, I don’t earn enough to get ssp Is there help for people like me.

janet says:

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 14:24

In reply to by Jackie

Comment
My take home pay is £1075 am I entitled to help with rent on 65 ,still in work has a key worker

Legal Choices says:

Wed, 04/08/2020 - 11:54

In reply to by Susan Bartlam

Thanks for getting in touch. We've received hundreds of responses to our articles about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. Although we’d like to respond to everyone in person, we can’t. But hope these resources will help you: 

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) - Gov.uk - www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay 

Unfortunately, we can't answer any specific questions about SSP.

Debbie says:

Sun, 04/26/2020 - 22:03

In reply to by Susan Bartlam

Comment
I work as a care assistant in a care home and i have asthma ..when im not at work iv been self isolating but now iv been told i have to take the residents out . I was offered my 12 week isolation by the company but when i come to take it they said i cnt because iv not been hospitalized with it . Is this right and do i have to take the residents out as i feel its puting them and myself at risk .

Wendy Wilson says:

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 11:12
Comment
My work is telling me there is no guidance to self isolate to contact my doctor I did he didn't get back to me I am late 50s high cholesterol high blood pressure 2 heart attacks kidney disease and only 1 kidney IBS

Michelle pritchard says:

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 18:07

In reply to by Wendy Wilson

Comment
I work in a care home,I have had a heart attack and stent fitted.i can't self isolate as I have no symptoms,but am at risk what can I do.

Charlie matthews says:

Sat, 04/25/2020 - 08:12

In reply to by Michelle pritchard

Comment
You do not have to have symptoms to self isolate and fill in 111 form in which will cover you for time of work

Keith Nicol says:

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 19:29

In reply to by Wendy Wilson

Comment
Your employer has to legally pay you sick.pay from day 1
I might be a good idea to ask your employer to email you a sick form for you to return to them electronically

Legal Choices says:

Wed, 04/08/2020 - 15:23

In reply to by Wendy Wilson

Thanks for getting in touch. Unfortunately, we don’t have any more information about this, other than what we have given in the article.

Gillian clark says:

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 11:17
Comment
I work in education but my son who is 42 lives with me he is an acute asthmatic with learning difficulties do I have to leave him to go work with children

Vicki says:

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 20:41

In reply to by Gillian clark

Comment
You can get a self isolation note off of the 111 website

Legal Choices says:

Wed, 04/08/2020 - 15:30

In reply to by Gillian clark

Thanks for getting in touch. We've received hundreds of responses to our articles about your rights during the Coronavirus pandemic. Although we’d like to respond to everyone in person, we can’t. But hope these resources will help you: 

Taking time off to look after someone - The Money Advice Service - www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-what-it-means-for-you#if-you-cant-work-because-you-have-to-look-after-someone-with-coronavirus

Neli Raoof says:

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 11:52
Comment
Siknes pay is 92£ housings rent is 72& how can I manage my life

T says:

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 23:14

In reply to by Neli Raoof

Comment
Were in the same boat 92 pound sick pay and my rent is 140 a week not including all my other bills so sick pay doesn't even cover our rent let alone anything else

Adrian Lawton says:

Sat, 04/25/2020 - 01:47

In reply to by T

Comment
I have had Corona virus symptoms iam only getting ssp which isn't covering my bills and my employer has told me to stay on the sick until further notice is that right

Terry says:

Sat, 03/28/2020 - 22:33

In reply to by Neli Raoof

Comment
Sick pay is 94 pounds and you claim universal credit to cover your rent with housing benefit

Legal Choices says:

Wed, 04/08/2020 - 15:49

In reply to by Neli Raoof

Due to the extraordinary number of comments posted in response to our articles about the Coronavirus pandemic, unfortunately we can’t reply to everyone. 

We understand that it is a very difficult time for many people, and we appreciate that you have worried about how you and your loved ones will be affected. 

I hope you find these resources helpful:

Claiming benefits - Understanding Universal Credit - www.understandinguniversalcredit.gov.uk/coronavirus/

Problems paying your rent or mortgage - The Money Advice Service - www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/coronavirus-and-your-money#problems-paying-your-rent-or-mortgage

Margaret McDines says:

Sat, 03/21/2020 - 12:27
Comment
Husband has asthma and would like to know if he would get 80% of his wage when he is . His employer is no help they no nothing.

Cheryl says:

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 01:27

In reply to by Margaret McDines

Comment
I'm in the same position hun I have asthma and on a high steroid inhaler I'm trying to find out still if I can get 80%of my wages paid as my employer doesn't know

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