During these challenging times, we understand that many people are concerned about their rights regarding their jobs, including;
- what pay am I entitled to?
- what will happen I can’t go to work?
- what if my pay is reduced?
These are just a few of the many questions we will address here.
If you are unable to work because you are sick, due to coronavirus (COVID-19) or anything else, check to see if you are entitled to Contractual Sick Pay (CSP). Your contract of employment will set out what you are entitled to and you should notify your employer of your sickness when you are due to work or as soon as possible.
If you are not entitled to CSP, or your entitlement has ended, you could be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and you can find more information about this here. You can claim SSP if you need to self-isolate because either you or someone in your household are showing symptoms of coronavirus.
Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Leave)
If your employers are unable to operate or have no work for you to do because of coronavirus (COVID-19), you may be able to agree with them that you will be kept on the payroll. This is known as being ‘on furlough’.
Your employer could pay 80% of your regular wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, up to a monthly cap of £2,500. Your employer can claim this back from the Government. It is your employer who needs to claim through the Job Retention Scheme on your behalf. It is also their responsibility to pay you what you are entitled to. You cannot apply for the scheme yourself. The grant will start on the day you were placed on furlough. This can be backdated to 1 March 2020.
Both you and your employer must agree to put you on furlough – so speak to your employer about whether they can claim for you to do this. Once agreed, your employer must confirm in writing that you have been furloughed to be eligible to claim. Contact your employer if you do not receive confirmation.
Your employer should be able to claim provided:
- they have a UK payroll and a UK bank account and;
- if you were on your employer’s PAYE payroll before or on 28 February 2020.
It doesn’t matter what type of contract you are on, you are eligible even if you are on a zero hour or a temporary contract.
Foreign Nationals can also be furloughed under the scheme.
What if you cannot work because you are self isolating/shielding due to you or someone in your household?
Gov.UK says “If you are shielding in line with public health guidance or required to stay home due to an individual in your household shielding and are unable to work from home, then you should speak to your employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough.
If you are unable to work, including from home, due to caring responsibilities arising from coronarivus (COVID-19), such as caring for children who are at home as a result of school and childcare facilities closing, or caring for a vulnerable individual in your household, then you should speak to your employer about whether they plan to place staff on furlough.”
If you have any problems with your employer agreeing with this, please contact ACAS here.
What if your employer wants to change your working hours or other terms and conditions of your employment?
Your employer should speak to you if they want to change the terms of your employment to see if you can come to an agreement.
If an employer cannot reach an agreement, they may want to change the written terms in an employee’s contract. If there are more than 20 employees affected, employers will need to consult staff representatives (‘collectively consult’). You can find out more about changing contracts of employment and your rights here.
What if your employer has ended your employment because they have had to close the business for good?
If your employment has been ended due to the closure of a business or because there is no longer work for you, you may be entitled to redundancy. You need to have been working as an employee continuously for at least two years. You can find out more about redundancy here.
What if your employer has dismissed you due to a coronavirus (COVID-19) related matter?
If your employer has dismissed you, check first to see if it is a redundancy situation (see above). If it is not a redundancy situation, you may be able to claim unfair dismissal. If you have been continuously employed by the same employer for at least two years (this may not be required if you believe there was discrimination – find more information here.) You can also find more information about unfair dismissal at ACAS.
What benefits and financial support might you be entitled to if your pay ends or reduces?
You may be entitled to Universal Credit if your pay has stopped or reduced. Even if you are not receiving any pay at the moment and you are waiting to hear about reduced pay through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you could claim Universal Credit while you are waiting and it will be assess and adjusted once your pay begins. You can find out how to claim Universal Credit here.
You can also find out about other benefits you might be entitled to on our website.
Please note if you are already receiving a means tested benefit (such as Tax Credits, etc), you are likely to be transferred onto Universal Credit if you tell them about a change in your circumstances. If you would like more advice about this and how it would affect you, please contact our advice service.
If you are receiving Special Guardianship Allowance and your income has changed, you should tell Children’s Services and ask if they would be able to reassess your entitlement and increase your payments. They do not have to do this as any payments are discretionary. If you have any problems with this and need advice about what to do, please contact our advice service.