Payments made from day 1, rather than day 4, of your absence from work
If you think you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you can receive £94.25 per week if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.
If you are self-isolating because of COVID-19, from 13 March, you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people self-isolating in the same household and who have therefore been advised to do a household quarantine. If you were self-isolating before 13 March because someone in your household had symptoms, you cannot receive SSP.
Need to make a claim
The Government has legislated for SSP to be paid from day one, rather than day four, of your absence from work if you are absent due to sickness or need to self-isolate because of COVID-19. This applies retrospectively from 13 March. You should talk to your employer if you are eligible for SSP and need to make a claim.
SSP is paid by your employer in the same way as your normal wages (for example, weekly or monthly). If you have more than one job, you may receive SSP from each employer. Tax and National Insurance will be deducted. However, if you think you are not getting the right amount of SSP, talk to your employer.
Must be eligible for SSP
If your illness is not related to coronavirus (COVID-19), you must be eligible for SSP and have been off work sick for four or more days in a row (including non-working days) to get SSP. You cannot get less than the statutory amount. You can receive more if your company has a sick pay scheme (or ‘occupational scheme’), but you will need to check your employment contract. There are different sick pay rules for agricultural workers.
From Friday 20 March onwards, those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate can obtain an ‘isolation note’ by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases, this replaces the usual need to provide a ‘fit note’ after seven days of sickness absence.
Ill or have a health condition or disability
If you are not eligible for SSP – for example, if you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week – and you have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate, you can now more easily make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or New Style Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
If you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work, you may be able to get New Style ESA. This is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (UC).
The New Style ESA is a contributory benefit which normally means you may be able to receive it if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the two full tax years before the year you’re claiming in.
Most income is not taken into account
Your (or your partner’s) savings will not affect how much New Style ESA you’re paid. If your partner works, it does not affect your claim. Most income is not taken into account (but a personal pension can affect the amount you may receive).
While you receive New Style ESA, you’ll earn Class 1 National Insurance credits, which can help towards your State Pension and other contributory benefits in the future.