Coronavirus: Employment, Benefits and Financial Support

Updated 28th April 2020, 12:15. For the latest medical advice, visit NHS.uk/Coronavirus

Here we share advice and information needed around employment and benefits. We also answer a some frequently asked questions below:

FAQs

Should I stay at home or go to work?

You may travel for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home.

Certain jobs require people to travel to their place of work – for instance if they operate machinery, work in construction or manufacturing, or are delivering front line services such as train and bus drivers.

Employers and employees should discuss their working arrangements, and employers should take every possible step to facilitate their employees working from home, including providing suitable IT and equipment to enable remote working.

I’m not a critical worker and I can’t work from home. What should I do?

If you cannot work from home then you can still travel to work. This is consistent with the Chief Medical Officer’s advice.

Critical workers are those who can still take their children to school or childcare. This critical worker definition does not affect whether or not you can travel to work – if you are not a critical worker, you may still travel to work provided you cannot work from home.

Anyone who has symptoms or is in a household where someone has symptoms should not go to work and should self-isolate.

I can’t go to work because I need to look after my child, but my boss is threatening to sack me if I don’t. What should I do?

The Government is urging employers to take socially responsible decisions and listen to the concerns of their workforce – particularly when they have childcare responsibilities. Employers and employees should come to an agreement about these arrangements. If individuals need advice they should approach ACAS where they can get impartial advice about in-work disputes

 

Staying off sick

Am I entitled to Sick Pay?

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

To check your sick pay entitlement, you should talk to your employer, and visit the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) page for more information.

I need a sick note. How can I get one? 

You do not need to go to your GP. Click here to get an isolation note. 

I am self-isolating or sick because of coronavirus. Will I get paid?

You can get £94.25 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. If you cannot work because of coronavirus, you could get SSP for every day you are in isolation, but you must self-isolate for at least 4 days to be eligible. Click here to find out more about how to claim. 

You cannot get less than the Statutory Sick Pay amount, but you may get more if your company has a sick pay scheme (also called an occupational scheme) - check your employment contract. 

There are different rules for agricultural workers - click here to find out more. 

 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

My employer wants to 'furlough' me. What does this mean?

If you and your employer both agree, your employer might be able to keep you on the payroll if they’re unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus. This is known as being ‘on furlough’. You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500. 

How much will I get paid if I am furloughed?

If you are furloughed, you could get paid up to 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500. If you have been employed (or engaged by an employment business in the case of agency workers) for a full year, employers will claim for the higher of either:

  • the amount you earned in the same month last year
  • an average of your monthly earnings from the last year

If you’ve been employed for less than a year, employers will claim for an average of your monthly earnings since you started work. If you started work in February 2020, your employer will pro-rata your earnings from that month.

Your employer can choose to pay you more than 80% of wages, but they do not have to. Check if you are covered by the Job Retention Scheme

What if I am furloughed and on a zero-hours contract. Will I still get paid?

Yes. employers will claim for an average of your monthly earnings since you started work.

I have been furloughed but I don't think my employer is paying me correctly. What should I do?

In the first instance, you should raise this with your employer, and then with Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service. 

Can I be furloughed if I've already been made redundant?

Your employer can agree to re-employ you and place you on furlough instead. They’ll still be able to claim a grant to cover 80% of your monthly earnings, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

How long will the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme last?

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will last for at least three months, but may be extended. 

Can I still work whilst I am on furlough?

If you are furloughed, you cannot work for your employer, but you can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, as long as you're not making money for your employer, or providing services to your employer. 

I have more than one employer. Where does that leave me?

You can be put on furlough by one employer and continue to work for another, if it is permitted within your employment contract.

If you’re put on furlough by more than one employer, you’ll receive separate payments from each employer. The 80% of your normal wage up to a £2,500 monthly cap applies to each job.

I was made redundant after 28th Feburary. 

Your employer can agree to re-employ you and place you on furlough instead. They’ll still be able to claim a grant to cover 80% of your monthly earnings, up to a monthly cap of £2,500.

I have annual leave that I need to take. What can I do? 

New government regulations allows annual leave to be carried over into the next two years, so you don't lose your annual leave entitlements. Click here to find out more. 

What should I do about waste?

Household waste collections will continue as normal, but all Northumberland tips are closed. Residents should store their unwanted items until the sites are able to open again.