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17 Mar 2020 - News

Sick pay guidance issued by the NTF and NARS

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Sick pay provisions guidance issued jointly by the NTF and NARS on 17th March 2020.

Someone diagnosed with Coronavirus
This person is on a sickness absence and the normal sick pay provisions apply.    They can self-certify for the first week and then provide medical evidence to support further absence.

Someone who has or potentially has virus symptoms
This person is on a sickness absence and the normal sick pay provisions apply.   They would be able to self-certify for the first week and then provide medical evidence to support further absence.  If the employee becomes well enough to work but has to move into self-isolation on medical advice (because they live with others and are within the isolation period) they would be entitled to SSP.

Someone self-isolating on medical advice – with a written notice issued by a GP or NHS 111. This means the person is self-isolating is to prevent infection or contamination with Coronavirus.
This person is not on sickness absence and not entitled to sick pay under the MOA but would be entitled to SSP as per the new regulations which have come in.   The person should provide evidence from NHS 111 or NHS online or a GP.

The employer may decide to pay normal sick pay at their discretion.

Someone who has no symptoms and chooses to self-isolate without medical advice or the employer’s consent
This person is unlikely to be on sickness absence and therefore not entitled to sick pay.  Employers would need to investigate the situation to ascertain if there were any special circumstances which may bring about an entitlement to pay.

Employee caring for someone with or suspected to have Coronavirus
It was announced in the Budget that an employee who is caring for someone in the same household who has or is suspected to have Covid-19 would also be entitled to SSP. However, this is not currently included in the legislation and further detail is awaited.   In practical terms, it is likely that the person would self- isolate on medical grounds and be able to produce a written notice from the NHS entitling them to SSP.

Employer instructs employee to go home or not come in to work on health and safety grounds
This is normal pay as it is a health and safety suspension.

Someone absent with other illness
Normal sick pay and medical evidence applies.

Someone earning less than the Lower Earnings Level of SSP (under £118 per week)
There is a range of support in place for those who do not receive Statutory Sick Pay, including Universal Credit and contributory Employment and Support Allowance.  This is not paid by the employer and the employee would have to apply direct for it.

Medical evidence
NHS111 is responsible for providing employees with the SSP evidence they need to establish that they are ill or need to self-isolate because of Coronavirus. However, employers may need to accept that this evidence may not be available in all cases as demand will be so high and employers are advised to use their discretion.  However, if an employer suspects an employee has been untruthful about their situation, that can be investigated in the same way as you would any other type of misconduct.

SSP
The Government has announced that this will be payable from day 1 for those self-isolating in line with Government guidance – legislation enacting this is not yet in place and as such the 3 waiting days still apply.  The Government has announced that it will reimburse SSP to small employers (under 250 employees) although no processes are yet in place for this.  It will be limited to two weeks per employee.

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