If you are staying at home and are unable to work because you are affected by coronavirus you will be eligible to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from the first day you start self-isolating. This is also the case if you are caring for people in your household and have been advised to quarantine as a group. SSP is £94.25 per week and can be claimed for up to 28 weeks. To be approved for SSP you will need to supply an isolation note to your employer, that can be obtained via the NHS here.
SSP is paid by your employer, so you should speak to them to check your entitlement.
If you have issues contact HMRC's statutory payment dispute team on 03000 560 630.
Furloughed workers and Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
If your employer is unable to pay your wages, they may be able to access financial support from the government through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. If this is the case they will speak to you about changing your employment status to that of a furloughed worker. This means that you are kept on the payroll, rather than being laid off. The scheme covers everyone who is on PAYE – or is taxed before they are paid – including those on zero-hours contracts.
To qualify for this scheme, you as an employee should not undertake any form of work for your employer when you are furloughed. This will allow them to access a grant of up to 80% of your wage, up to a maximum of £2,500 per employee per month. Your employer will have the option to fund the differences between this payment and your normal salary, but does not have to.
If your contracted salary is reduced to a very low wage as a result of these changes, you may be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will run for at least three months from 1 March, but the government will extend this if necessary.
If you’ve had your working hours cut
If you have not been classified as a furloughed worker but have had your working days cut you may be entitled to guarantee pay. This is worth up to £29 a day but is typically limited to five days in any three-month period. Click here for more information.
Benefits - Universal Credit
If you are not eligible for SSP you will be able to access Universal Credit, which is a payment to help with your living costs. This is currently £409.89 per month for those aged 25 and over. Payments for Universal Credit take five weeks from the date of application to pay out but will be back dated. The government has announced that people applying for Universal credit will be able to access up to one month’s advance payment without physically having to attend the traditional job centre interview. To claim and for more information see here.
Workers who have contributed two full tax years’ worth of national insurance will be able to apply to receive New Style Job Seekers Allowance (JSA). This can be received in addition to Universal Credit or on its own. To claim and for more information click here.
Benefits – Universal Credit - Rent and mortgages
The government has increased the amount of assistance available for people affected by coronavirus through Universal Credit. This scheme will pay up to 30% of your contracted rental payments. For more information and to claim see here.
There have also been changes to prevent landlords from evicting tenants for three months, though the government may extend this if necessary.
The Chancellor has announced a three-month mortgage holiday for homeowners struggling to make repayments. You should contact your lender directly about this, and they can outline the financial implications.
The UK’s leading hospitality-focused charity has launched an Emergency Grant Scheme for workers affected by the crisis, offering a one-time £250 household payment. It is open to those who have savings of less than £1,000 individually or £2,000 as a couple. Bank statements and a previous payslip are required on application.
Update - The scheme is temporarily closed due to volume of applications but the charity says it will re-open if it is able to meet capacity. For more information see https://www.hospitalityaction.org.uk/
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