Kate Brooks
Partner, Solicitor & Head of Employment/HR Services
Make an enquiry
Date Published:10 Mar 2020 Last Updated:13 Apr 2021

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: to pay or not to pay employees?

Employment Law Advice

Yesterday following the COBRA 19 meeting it has been confirmed we remain in the “containment” phase in the UK; meaning individuals should familiarise themselves with guidance around COVID-19 and self isolate if they:

1. have been to a category 1 country;

2. get symptoms after going to category 2 country;

3. get symptoms; or

4. have been in contact with someone with Coronavirus (COVID-19).

If an employee self isolates, legally they are not entitled to be paid. That being said, we would always encourage an employee to consider whether they can work from home or take paid leave, as well as treating self isolation as sickness, or using holiday leave.

If we move to the next phase, it is possible schools could close and/or the general public will be advised to work from home where possible.

If schools were to close, parents may be entitled to unpaid emergency leave while they put in place child care arrangements. We recommend you check your policies in this regard.

If a business closes (because it is told to or decides to), or tells an employee not to come to work (as a result of COVID-19), the employee will be entitled to full pay.

We also recommend you consider the following:

1. Check family friendly polices and put in place emergency leave for childcare provisions;

2. Ensure you have a method to contact all employees e.g. contact details;

3. Survey workforce to assess who can work from home and put in place measures;

4. Consider restriction on travel to meetings, face to face meetings,networking events etc;

5. Ensure your staff are kept up to date with the latest guidance and advice;

6. Remind staff of health and safety guidance i.e. wash hands and ensure they have access to hand washing areas, and cleaning products for desks/shared areas;

7. Give staff a method to report if they are or have been to a country impacted by COVID-19, get symptoms, or have been in contact with someone with the virus.

If you need any help or guidance throughout Coronavirus (COVID-19), with any employment/HR related matter please email Kate Brooks, or call 01202 525333.