Workers who self-isolate due to coronavirus to get three more days of statutory sick pay
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that workers who are told to self-isolate to prevent the spread of coronavirus will soon qualify for statutory sick pay from the first day they take off, not the fourth.
Speaking at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday 4 March, Johnson said the new rules would be brought in under emergency legislation to help prevent the spread of the virus. The PM said that people who are self-isolating to protect others from the virus should not be "penalised for doing the right thing".
However, the change will only help those who are eligible for statutory sick pay – those who do not earn enough to qualify or are self-employed won't be affected by today's announcement.
For much more on the coronavirus outbreak, including your travel rights, see our Covid-19 Coronavirus Help guide.
How are the rules changing?
People deemed as being at risk of developing coronavirus, for example because they have recently returned from a country badly affected by the outbreak, are in some cases being asked to self-isolate for up to 14 days. This involves staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people for the duration.
Statutory sick pay currently stands at £94.25 per week, but under current rules it is usually only paid on the fourth day of absence. The new rules will mean those who get statutory sick pay will get an extra £40.
Here's what we know so far about the rule change:
- It is not immediately clear when the new rules will come into effect. The PM didn't say in his statement and the Department of Health and Social Care was unable to tell us this afternoon.
- The extension in statutory sick pay relates to those self-isolating due to coronavirus. If you are off sick for any other reason, standard rules apply and statutory sick pay will kick in from day four, not day one. The Department of Health and Social Care wasn't able to confirm if the rules would also apply to those who have coronavirus and do not self-isolate.
- You must be told to self-isolate to qualify for the additional sick pay. You can't just decide to self-isolate yourself – you must be told to do so by the NHS or a health professional.