Employment Rights FAQs
Coronavirus is affecting workplaces across the UK. Revised Government advice is that employers should make every reasonable effort to ensure their employees can work safely. From 1st August 2020 this may mean working from home, or in the workplace if COVID-Secure guidelines can be followed.
We understand changes at work can be unsettling. So we’ve put together these FAQs to help you understand your work rights and what changes could mean for your income.
Our answers are based on what we know on 1st August 2020. They are intended as a general guide. Your circumstances may be different. We would advise you to seek formal legal advice if you are concerned.
- 1. Jump to Will I get paid if I am ill with coronavirus or self-isolating?
- 2. Jump to What are my rights if my place of work is closed due to coronavirus?
- 3. Jump to Can my employer ask me to take paid or unpaid leave, reduce my hours and pay or make me redundant?
- 4. Jump to What should I do if I am having difficulties receiving my furlough pay?
- 5. Jump to What can I do if I’m feeling overwhelmed by my current working and/or financial situation?
- 6. Jump to I’m self-employed, what financial support is available to me as I’m receiving less income due to coronavirus?
- 7. Jump to I was planning to retire soon, will my pension be impacted by coronavirus?
- 8. Jump to Where can I get more information?
Will I get paid if I am ill with coronavirus or self-isolating?
- You can check if you meet the eligibility conditions the Government have set.
- If you are an agency worker you are also able to claim if you meet the same conditions.
- SSP will now be paid from day one if you are ill with coronavirus or self-isolating.
- SSP is currently £95.85 and can be paid for up to 28 weeks.
Your employer may also offer additional sick pay. You can find out by checking your employment contract, employee handbook, company policies or asking your Human Resource department.
Remember to follow your workplace’s policy on notifying your employer that you are sick or self-isolating. If you are self-isolating, and don’t already have a notification as proof you can get one from NHS 111 online.Back to top
What are my rights if my place of work is closed due to coronavirus?
1. If you can work from home
If your workplace remains closed and you can work from home, your employer may reasonably ask you to. Where this is agreed, you should get your usual pay. Your company may have homeworking policies which you will need to follow.
Your employer can make tax free payments to cover some additional household costs that you have from working from home due to the impact of coronavirus.
These costs may be additional electricity and heating or the installation of broadband where you didn’t have it before. Your employer can pay up to £6 a week or £26 per month without you needing to provide any evidence. If your employer chooses to pay more than this, you’ll need to be able to show these additional costs to your employer.
2. If you can’t work from home
If it is not reasonably possibly for you to work from home while your workplace is shut you should still be entitled to full pay if you are willing and able to work. This may be different if your employer is not contractually required to offer you work, for example, if you are a casual worker.Back to top
Can my employer ask me to take paid or unpaid leave, reduce my hours and pay or make me redundant?
Your employer may need to continue to make changes to reduce their payroll costs. You could be given notice that requires you to take holidays, or your employer may seek volunteers to take unpaid leave. An employer can ask an employee to stay at home or take unpaid leave or work shorter hours on a temporary basis, if the contract allows this.
If there is likely to be a long-term impact on business and less staff will be needed when the workplace reopens, employers may begin consulting on making redundancies. However, your employer might try to come to an agreement with employees and their representatives on alternatives to redundancy, such as reducing working hours or pay/benefits. You can find out more in our redundancy guide.
If you’ve been made redundant, and have Payment Protection Insurance with your loan, credit card or mortgage, you may be able to claim financial support, visit our Payment Protection Insurance page for details on how to contact us.Back to top
What should I do if I am having difficulties receiving my furlough pay?
The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will continue until 31st October 2020. It now operates on a flexible basis, allowing employers to continue to claim periods of time where an employee is unable to work as a result of coronavirus.
To remain eligible for the grant, your employer must take certain steps. One of these is to make it clear in writing:
- when you will work and your pay,
- when you will be on furlough and how much you will be paid.
If you are experiencing difficulties in receiving pay or you believe you have been paid incorrectly, you should approach your employer first. If you are unable to resolve this you can talk to ACAS or take legal advice. You should keep records of any furlough agreement correspondence issued by your employer and records of when you worked and your payslips for this time period.Back to top
What can I do if I’m feeling overwhelmed by my current working and/or financial situation?
Even if you're working from home, your employer still has a duty to support you and make sure your working environment is safe. If you are struggling with your work situation you should speak to your employer. Arrange a time to chat with your manager or your Human Resources department. Some employers also have helplines and online resources that can help. These may also give you access to independent advisors or counsellors who can offer more support and guidance. Friends and family can also provide support and they may be facing similar challenges. If you feel your situation is becoming more serious, you should contact your GP or seek other specialist support from health experts.
If you are feeling worried about your financial wellbeing, knowing where to start is the first step to feeling more in control of your money. In partnership with Mental Health UK, we’ve developed information, links and tools to help you during these times.
If you are starting to worry about your money - we are here to help you. We have a range of tips and advice. The sooner you let us know, the quicker we can help and get you back on track.Back to top
I’m self-employed, what financial support is available to me as I’m receiving less income due to coronavirus?
The Government has put in place a grant scheme called the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.
HMRC are able to award grants through this Scheme. You can apply for a grant if you’re a self-employed person or a member of a partnership and your business has been affected on or after 14th July 2020. HMRC will work out if you’re eligible and how much money you may get.Back to top
I was planning to retire soon, will my pension be impacted by coronavirus?
It depends on the type of pension you have, how it's invested and when you plan to retire. We suggest that you talk to your current employer and/or your pension provider to understand more about the potential impact for you.Back to top
Where can I get more information?
For Government advice on coronavirus and what you need to do, including information on employment and support, visit: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus
ACAS offer free impartial advice to employers and employees.Back to top