COVID-19 FAQs for individuals

Last updated 02/04/2020

I am unable to take my annual leave this year, what will happen to the days I’m owed?

On 27 March the government amended the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) to allow workers to carry forward unused holiday for up to 2 years where they have been unable to take it due to Covid-19.

What is included in the government’s recently announced package of support for the self-employed?

  • If you are self-employed the government will pay a taxable grant worth 80% of your average monthly profits over the last three years, up to £2500 per month;
  • This will be available for three months and extended if necessary;
  • You can claim these grants and continue to do business;
  • It is open to anyone of trading profits of up to £50,000.

HMRC will contact you directly and you will have to complete a form. HMRC will then pay the grant directly to bank accounts and the aim is for this to be implemented in June (backdated by three months).

Can my employer temporarily lay me off or reduce my hours?

In order to lawfully exercise lay-off or short-time working, your contract must have a clause allowing your employer to do so. In this situation, you would not receive your normal pay and depending on the length of the lay-off or short-time working, you may be able to claim for redundancy pay.

I have been put at risk of redundancy – what happens next?

Your employer should hold meetings with employees informing them that redundancies are possible. Your employer should consider ways of avoiding redundancy but in the circumstances, they may be forced to terminate your contract of employment. Your redundancy pay will depend upon your age, weekly pay and length of service.

Even during these difficult times, your employer should still follow and apply a fair redundancy process.

You may have access to templates and guides on to help with the redundancy process – these can be accessed using the voucher code in your policy provider’s documentation. On DAS Householdlaw you will find a ‘redundancy 101’ super guide that contains useful information on your rights as an employee when going through this process.

How to register Visit DAS Householdlaw

My employer has said that I am a Furlough Worker – what does this mean?

If your place of work has shut down or there’s no work for you because of coronavirus, your employer can use the government Coronavirus Job Retention scheme to pay you while there’s no work to do - this is called being a ‘furloughed worker’. If you fall within this category your employer will need to seek your written consent for you to be furloughed.

If your employer applies to the scheme, you’ll be paid 80% of your normal pay up to a maximum of £2500 per month. This will continue until the government ends the scheme or you return to work.

When your employer applies for money through the scheme, they have to pay you for any time you were sent home from 1 March 2020. This is called ‘backdating’ your pay.

The Coronavirus Job Retention scheme only covers you if you’re not working. If you’re working from home you should get your normal pay from your employer.

I have been advised to self-isolate, what will I get paid?

You will be entitled to SSP (subject to the usual eligibility criteria) if you have been medically advised to self-isolate (your contract of employment may provide for enhanced pay). This also applies to those who are self-isolating as a result of members of their household who have COVID-19 symptoms.

I have tested positive for COVID-19, what will I get paid?

As long as you meet the usual eligibility criteria for SSP, you will be entitled to the same. You should check your contract of employment as you may be entitled to an enhanced rate of sick pay.

Can I choose to take holiday instead of sick leave?

You may ask to take holiday instead of sick leave however this will generally be at the discretion of your employer who may refuse as annual leave should be used for rest away from work and not recovering from illness.

My child’s school has closed – what will I get paid?

In this situation, you would usually be entitled to unpaid time off. Although, you may request annual leave but this will be at the discretion of your employer.

What are my rights with regards to caring for a sick or elderly relative?

The government has confirmed that employees or workers caring for an elderly or sick relative with coronavirus are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). If you need to look after a sick or elderly relative as an emergency you could apply for unpaid leave. If you need to care for a sick or elderly relative on a long term basis you can request to work flexibly.

Where can I find further COVID-19 employee information?

You can find out further COVID-19 information by visiting the UK government COVID-19 employee pages.

Disclaimer: This information is for general guidance regarding rights and responsibilities and is not formal legal advice as no lawyer-client relationship has been created. Note that the information was accurate at the time of publication but laws may have since changed.