I’m concerned that my workplace is unsafe or that employer is not following social distancing guidance.
While the majority of businesses are behaving responsibly, some have not put adequate measures in place to protect their workers. If you believe your workplace is unsafe, please report this the Avon and Somerset Police here. You can also contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
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. If your employer asks for a sick note after 7 days, you can get one from the NHS 111 Online service here.
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 have lost their jobs or on low-incomes?
If you have lost your job, cannot work or need extra support because of the coronavirus you can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit (UC ). This is available from day one of needing it. This is different from Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that is available to employed workers and some people on zero-hour contracts who cannot work because they are self-isolating (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 lose your job or need income assistance because of the Coronavirus:
- 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 but only if you are paid over £120 per week by your employer. Please contact your employer directly to check if you are eligible. If you do not qualify, you will be able to access UC and ESA instead.
I have or care for, school-aged children. What should I do?
Children are thought to be the least at-risk group from COVID-19. Although current scientific thinking indicates that children may be capable of spreading the virus.
All schools and further education providers have closed until further notice. Exams have been suspended for this year, as have school performance tables. If your child receives Free School Meals, your school will continue to provide this service.
If you are a worker involved in frontline Coronavirus support (Government list here), your children can still go to school if necessary.
If you have children who require additional support, including those with a social worker or an educational health and care plan, your children can still go to school.
You can call the Department for Education’s COVID-19 helpline for further guidance on 0800 046 8687, however, this helpline is likely to be very busy. Your child’s school should also be regularly getting updates from the Government and it may be quicker to get in touch with the school directly for guidance