I’ve had to self-isolate but my employer is asking me for proof that I have Coronavirus if I want to continue getting sick-pay. What should I do?
The government strongly advises businesses not to ask their employees to provide medical evidence (Doctor’s note or a positive test) if the absence is due to Coronavirus.
For companies that employee under 250 people., Employers will be refunded 14 days any employee Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payment. By law, employers are not allowed to ask for medical proof of illness during the first 7 days of SSP.
Government advice is to self-isolate if you, or someone in your household, experience even mild Coronavirus symptoms. The Government urges businesses to behave in a way that enables this behaviour.
What is the Government doing to help people who are self-employed/on low incomes?
Those that are self-employed, or part of the ‘gig economy’, will be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC )from day one of their self-isolation windows. This is different from Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that is available to employed workers and some people on zero-hour contracts (more below). SSP will also be available from day 1 of self-isolation.
The ESA and UC eligibility criteria have changed to take into account the Coronavirus. From now on, if you suffer from Coronavirus or are self-isolating because someone in your household has the virus:
- ESA will available from day 1, instead of day 7.
- You can now apply for UC without providing medical access or completing a work-capability assessment.
- UC work search and availability checks have been suspended.
- Those claiming UC will also be able to access work allowance and childcare support.
- The UC Minimum Income Floor has been temporarily suspended.
This means you will able to access UC without going through the normal check process. To avoid having to wait for payments, please make sure you request a UC Advance when you apply.
If you are on a zero-hour contract you may be eligible for SSP. This will depend on how many hours you regularly work and income you recieve. Please contact your employer directly to check if you are eligible.