Summary of advice for self-isolation and sick pay

Updated 3 June 2020

What is the current advice about self-isolating and sick pay?

The law has temporarily been amended to allow employees who are required to self-isolate, in accordance with NHS 111 guidelines, to be paid statutory sick pay (SSP) from the first day of absence (so the 3 waiting days no longer apply in this situation).

This only applies to absence related to Coronavirus and if the employee is, in any event, eligible to receive SSP. Employees can self-certify up to 7 days and thereafter we are advised they will be able to obtain an Isolation Note from the NHS 111 web service rather than going to see their GP for a medical certificate.

The government has said it will reimburse employers with fewer than 250 employees for SSP paid as a result of Coronavirus-related absence.

When should an employee stay at home?

The latest advice from NHS is to stay at home if you have either:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)

  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)

If an employee is not carrying the COVID-19 virus but needs to look after a family member who does, will they get sick pay?

The Government has announced new measures that mean these employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one. This includes people caring for those in the same household who display COVID-19 symptoms and have been told to self-isolate.

My employee’s child’s school is closing and they have to stay home to look after them. What are my options?

The government announced on 18 March that all schools will close. Those parents who are in Vital Roles such as NHS, emergency services, etc. will be able to send their children to school. CLICK HERE for a list of vital roles.

Some options, if your staff cannot come to work for this reason are:

  • Identify if homeworking is an option and if so temporarily implement (see section below on homeworking)

  • See if the employee has any unused accrued holiday they may wish to take

  • Provide the employee with unpaid Dependent/Parental Leave – there is a legal entitlement for parents of children, up to the age of 18, to take up to 4 weeks of unpaid parental leave per child in any one year. Please contact us for more information.

Read the other Managing Staff Matters summaries via the links below:

If you have any other questions please do get in touch with our team on 01722 325833 or email

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