As of 13 March 2020, employees and workers who self-isolate must receive any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them from the first day they're absent from work if it's because:
- they have coronavirus (COVID-19)
- they have coronavirus symptoms, for example a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste
- someone in their household has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
- they've been advised to stay at home by their doctor because of an underlying health condition
- they've been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111
- they've been told to self-isolate by a government 'test and trace' service, because they've been in close contact with someone who tested positive ('NHS Test and Trace' in England, 'Test and Protect' in Scotland or 'Test, trace, protect' in Wales)
Some employers can claim back up to 2 weeks' SSP they've paid to anyone because of coronavirus. Find out more about claiming back SSP due to coronavirus on GOV.UK.
Employers might offer more than SSP – 'contractual' sick pay. Find out more about sick pay.
If an employee or worker cannot work, they should tell their employer:
- as soon as possible
- the reason
- how long they're likely to be off for
If someone has symptoms or has tested positive
If someone has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus, they must stay at home (self-isolate) for at least 10 days.
Anyone else in their household must also self-isolate for 10 days.
If anyone else in the household starts displaying symptoms or tests positive for coronavirus, they must self-isolate for at least 10 days from the day they first have symptoms or test positive. This is regardless of where they are in the initial 10-day isolation period.
For more about households with coronavirus symptoms:
- in England, see guidance for households with possible coronavirus on GOV.UK
- in Scotland, see Scottish Government guidance
- in Wales, see Welsh Government guidance
If someone is told to self-isolate by a test and trace service
If a government 'test and trace' service tells someone they've recently been in close contact with someone who has tested positive, they must self-isolate for 10 days. If they develop symptoms, everyone else in their household must self-isolate for 10 days.
If someone is told to self-isolate by a test and trace service, they could be entitled to a £500 support payment from their local authority.
To be eligible, the person must be:
- employed or self-employed
- on a low income
- unable to work from home and will lose income as a result of self-isolating
For more information about test and trace and support payments:
- in England, see NHS Test and Trace on GOV.UK
- in Scotland, see Test and Protect on gov.scot
- in Wales, see Test, trace, protect on gov.wales
If the employer needs proof
Employees in self-isolation need to follow their workplace's usual sickness reporting process.
Employees can 'self-certify' for the first 7 days off work. This means following their workplace process but not having to get a note from a doctor or NHS 111.
Those self-isolating due to coronavirus for more than 7 days can get an online self-isolation note from the:
It's a good idea to check your workplace's policy on absence from work. Employers might need to be flexible if asking for self-isolation notes. For example, an employee with severe symptoms might not be able to get a note straight away.
Self-isolating after returning to the UK
Some people returning to the UK must self-isolate (or 'quarantine') for 10 days, depending on the country they've travelled from.
Employees or workers are not entitled to SSP if they're self-isolating after returning from holiday or business travel and they cannot work from home.
They may be entitled to SSP for another reason, for example if they have coronavirus symptoms.
An employer can choose to pay the employee an amount equivalent to SSP, or a higher amount of pay, if they want to.
It's a good idea to check your workplace's policy to see if your workplace pays SSP or a higher rate of sick pay if anyone needs to self-isolate after returning to the UK.
For more about self-isolation rules when returning to the UK in:
- England, see international travel and self-isolation advice on GOV.UK
- Scotland, see Scottish government advice on gov.scot
- Wales, see Welsh government regulations on gov.wales