Coronavirus sick pay rules explained

Workers affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in the United Kingdom are entitled to sick pay from the first day they are off work.

So what are your rights on sick pay, what should you do if you get sick and what about if you need to isolate?

Office workers, depending on their contract, are likely to be among those able to claim SSP. Credit: Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

I'm employed by a company, am I entitled to statutory sick pay and what does the new coronavirus legislation mean for me?

Workers who are employed as an employee by an organisation are entitled to statutory sick pay - this means you can get up to £94.25 a week for up to 28 weeks.

Your employment status (whether you're an employee or self-employed) will have an effect on what sick pay you are entitled to, if any at all.

You should check your status with your employer, if you are unclear.

You'll need to be classed as an employee and have done some work for your employer, which could mean difficulties for those starting new roles but finding themselves sick.

Employees need to be earning at least £118 a week to claim statutory sick pay.

This figure relates to your earnings before tax and is an average over a period of eight weeks.

If you earn less than £118 per week, then you can apply for Universal Credit.

New rules mean that you'll be paid from the first day you are off work, as opposed to having to be ill for at least four days in a row.

You'll need to make sure you tell your employer you're sick before their deadline - or within seven days if they don't have one formally set.

Those following stay at home measures and who cannot work as a result will be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP), even if they are not themselves sick.

The government is advising employers to use discretion and respect medical need to self-isolate. Credit: Photo by Anthony Fomin on Unsplash

I'm self-employed - what do the new rules mean for me?

If you're self-employed then you won't be entitled to statutory sick pay.

Self-employed people who are out of work owing to coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit, which can take up to several weeks to come through.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC) said "it is not good enough to suggest Universal Credit is what low paid workers should seek".

"There's a five week wait on universal credit," she said, "if you're bringing up a family with bills to pay, how are you going to survive those five weeks with no pay at all?"

She said Boris Johnson "isn't putting himself into the shoes of a low paid worker".

"If you're faced with the choice of going into work when you shouldn't, or being penniless, it's no choice at all."

Employment Support Allowance, which is paid within 10 days, is also available, the Department for Work and Pensions said.

Individual circumstances will affect what state benefits they are entitled to claim.

Many benefits are means tested, meaning your ability to claim them will depend on your savings and other income.

I'm on a zero-hours contract - can I get statutory sick pay?

People on zero-hours contracts may not get financial support for some time. Credit: PA

The Citizens Advice Bureau advises if you're on a zero-hours contract, you can still get sick pay and you should speak to your employer about it.

Workers are advised to follow their employer's rules around reporting their sickness in a timely manner, they'll also need to have earned more than an average of £118 per week before tax over a period of eight weeks.

If you are able to claim it, you can get up to £94.25 a week for up to 28 weeks.

If you are unable to claim SSP or you do not earn enough to qualify it, you can apply for UC.