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What employers need to know about sick pay during the coronavirus outbreak
30 Mar 2020
Employers will be facing a spike in sickness absence as the coronavirus epidemic continues.

Julia Fitzsimmons, a Partner with FBC Manby Bowdler’s Employment Team, says: “The changes that the Government made to sick pay in its business support package will certainly go a long way to reassuring employees they will get paid if they need to take time off, regardless of whether they have contracted coronavirus.”

She provides some answers about sick pay and the help available to businesses.

Q: I have a staff member who is self-isolating - do I need to pay them full pay or sick pay?

Staff who are self-isolating due to suffering coronavirus symptoms or because they live with someone who may have the illness are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. If you have a sick pay or occupational company scheme included in your employment contract they may get more.

Q: What has changed about sick pay payments?

Sick pay can now be claimed from day one of the period of time off work (this began on March 13). It can be paid for 28 weeks.

Q: Do staff need to produce a sick note?

Sick notes are not required for the first seven days of absence. Employees can access online isolation sick notes here to prevent them visiting a doctor.

Q: I have furloughed my staff – do I still have to pay sick pay?

If your staff are furloughed, self-isolation or sickness will not impact on pay arrangements. Employers can claim 80% of staff wages up to £2,500 for furloughed staff through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Q: Do staff accrue holiday while on sick leave?
Statutory annual leave is accrued while the employee is off work sick (no matter how long they’re off) and can be taken during sick leave.