With 27 confirmed cases in Scotland, both workers and business owners are understandably concerned if they need to take time off work as coronavirus fears spread across the UK. But what will this means for employers and employees?
If you are not at work, you are not entitled to be paid. With the obvious exceptions being if you are on annual leave (and have both a statutory and contractual right to be paid) or if you are off sick. Although UK workers are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), whether or not you get paid for sick leave depends on the contract of your employment. People on low incomes, zero-hours contracts and the self-employed are amongst those who may not qualify, although the Government has been urged to review the situation and support workers who do not qualify for SSP. Boris Johnson also announced last week that employees will get SSP from their first day off work rather than the fourth, as part of government plans to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Being sick is one thing. The situation that is unclear for most is... if employers ask staff to self-isolate following a visit to an infected area, close a business premises due to a potential outbreak, or indeed employees decide themselves to self-isolate, should the workers be entitled to pay?
As the situation develops, it is hoped the legal picture will become clearer, however if you encounter an issue in the workplace, or are an employer and are not sure how to handle the coronavirus epidemic, please get in touch with our Employment experts.