The Prime Minister has announced that workers who fall ill with coronavirus or who are advised to self-isolate will be entitled to receive statutory sick pay from the first day of their illness or isolation.

Currently, SSP is payable from the fourth day of absence. It’s paid at a fixed rate of £92.25 per week (increasing to £95.85 from 6 April 2020) and is only payable if someone earns at least £118 per week.

The lower earnings limit means that many people are excluded from receiving SSP – particularly if they work on zero hours contracts. The Prime Minister has said that workers who don’t qualify for SSP “will be entitled to help through existing systems such as universal credit and we are urgently looking at the application process to reflect on the advice on self-isolation.”

It is thought that this will only apply to Coronavirus related illness, not to other conditions or illnesses.

The Department of Health and Social Care has announced that people who are unable to work for more than seven days because of coronavirus can obtain an isolation note through a new online service. This can be used to provide evidence to employers that an employee has been advised to self-isolate either because of their own symptoms or because they live with someone who has symptoms. This avoids the need for an employee to contact a doctor to provide medical evidence for absence beyond seven calendar days.