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Covid-19 Coronavirus: Guidance for Employees

By March 19, 2020 No Comments

People across the UK may soon find themselves out of office for lengthy periods of time, whether they like it or not. This article is intended to provide Coronavirus Guidance for Employees. It has been estimated that one fifth of the UK’s workforce could be absent during the weeks when the coronavirus is at its peak while millions more will find themselves working from home or even without anywhere to work. With the disruption to the normal working week comes a plethora of questions for employees, employers, contractors and casual workers about what their rights are at such an unprecedented and uncertain time.

Can I work from home?

Google was one of the first companies to direct that employees from its European headquarters in Dublin work from home, a move which has been replicated many times in the last few weeks. Employers and companies have been told to talk to their staff as soon as possible and ensure that they have ways to work from home – via laptops and mobile phones. The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) said anyone who is worried about going into the office should have their concerns listened to by their employer. Based on current advice from ACAS and the government, employers should look to accommodate members of staff working from home where this is possible to do so. Employers are not obliged to permit requests for time off or unpaid leave.

What if I catch coronavirus?

Employees are entitled to statutory sick pay as long as they are sick for four days and earn at least £118 a week before tax. Workers – such as agency staff, those on zero-hour contracts and casuals – are also likely to be entitled to the £94.25 weekly payment. ACAS says many workplaces offer better terms than the statutory however. In his budget, chancellor Rishi Sunak said the four-day rule would be reduced to one day for anyone who has been advised to self-isolate.

Can I take annual leave?

Travel has been severely disrupted with limits to flights and cancelled holidays. If someone is intent on going away for a break however, their holidays may be cancelled but sufficient notice must be given. This will be the same amount of time as is being taken by the employee – so if they are going away for two weeks, they need two weeks’ notice to cancel it. An explanation or justification does not have to be given by the employer.

Will I still get paid if my workplace is shut down?

Employees should get their normal pay unless contracts entitle the employer to lay them off, in which case they are entitled to five days’ guaranteed pay. If the contract does not include this right and the workplace is shut for some time, then employers could require staff to take their annual leave while it is closed.

What happens if schools shut?

Employees are entitled to one or two days off to arrange for emergencies and could use that to put in place alternative childcare arrangements. This may not be paid time off and can include dependants ranging from spouses, children, parents, people who rely on them for help or people who receive care. Should a child or dependant become unwell and need to self-isolate, then the parent may also need to do so.

Contact Us Today

At Arlingsworth, our employment law team are on hand 24/7 to provide specialist advice and guidance during these uncertain times. Please contact our Employment Law Department on +44 (0) 1273 696962. Alternatively, request a callback, or email info@arlingsworth.com. You can also follow us on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn for any other important news and updates.

Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended for general information only and reflects the position in the law at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated or relied upon as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.

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