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Friday, 04 September 2020 06:54

Pay for Absence During Covid

How to deal with and manage absence has always been a topic that has generated a lot of requests for advice and support. With the Covid pandemic has come a whole raft of new absence scenarios that has given rise to a new wave of absence management enquiries.

These enquires ultimately relate to how absent employees should be paid. Unsurprising as economic uncertainty rages on and when we consider that cashflow for many businesses will be squeezed tighter as they are required to contribute more to the furlough scheme as it winds down.

Every situation will be different and likely to have its own nuances, but we have tried to summarise a range of different scenarios and the employee’s right to pay for each in the table below:

Type Of Absence

Right To Pay

Sickness absence for coronavirus infection (suspected or diagnosed)

Entitled to usual sick leave and pay entitlements (including SSP).

3-day waiting period for SSP has been removed for incapacity related to coronavirus from 13 March onwards.

Government advice is that anyone showing symptoms should self-isolate for 10 days

Absence for self-isolation/quarantine under government or medical advice

Able to work remotely – entitled to usual pay

Unable to work remotely – entitled to SSP until end of period or confirmation of negative COVID test

Absence from work at employer request – whether enforcing an advised quarantine or under the employer’s own policies

Able to work remotely – entitled to usual pay

Unable to work remotely – entitled to SSP, as not “able” to work even if the employee attempts to come to work

If absence is at employer request in other circumstances, entitled to usual pay unless contractual right not to pay

Absence from work due to compulsory 14 day self-isolation after returning to the UK from abroad

If sick - entitled to usual sick leave and pay entitlements (including SSP)

No right to SSP if not unfit to work

Able to work remotely – entitled to usual pay

If not sick and unable to work remotely - no entitlement to pay, unless entitled under contract or policy (more likely if work-related travel)

Absence from work due to being trapped abroad

If sick - entitled to usual sick leave and pay entitlements (including SSP)

No right to SSP if not unfit to work

Able to work remotely – entitled to usual pay

If not sick and unable to work remotely - no entitlement to pay, unless entitled under contract or policy (more likely if work-related travel)

Absence from work due to being scared of risk of infection – vulnerable employees (pregnant, over 70, relevant health conditions or a weakened immune system)

Able to work remotely and employer agrees – entitled to usual pay

If not able to work remotely, those ‘shielding’ under official medical advice because public health guidance deems them ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ are entitled to SSP until end of period specified in their latest shielding notification. Shielding and SSP entitlement has been paused from 1 August, except for individuals advised to shield in local lockdown areas.

Anyone else is not entitled to SSP.

Absence from work due to being scared of risk of infection – other employees

Able to work remotely and employer agrees – entitled to usual pay

Generally no entitlement to pay if employer requires employee to come to work and they refuse

Potentially entitled to full pay if employee leaves or refuses to return to the workplace due to a reasonable belief of ‘serious and imminent danger’ – employee cannot be subjected to a detriment or dismissed as a result (a section 44 claim)

Entitled to SSP/company sick pay if serious anxiety means employee is too unwell to come to work and has a doctor fit-note

Temporary workplace closure at employer request

Entitled to usual pay

Qualifying employees can agree to be placed on furlough under government’s job retention scheme

Temporary workplace closure ordered by government owing to Covid breakout

Sick or following main guidance regarding self-isolation – Entitled to SSP

Able to work remotely – entitled to usual pay

Qualifying employees can agree to be placed on furlough under government’s job retention scheme

Reduced working hours at employer request

Entitled to usual pay

Unless express contractual provisions for short-time working, or consent of employees through variation to contract consultation

Qualifying employees can agree to be placed on furlough under government’s job retention scheme under flexible furlough terms

Absence for childcare (e.g.  Unexpected breakdown in care arrangements because child is quarantined or school is closed) Emergency dependent leave gives right to reasonable amount of time off work. This is unpaid - unless pay is provided in the employer’s contract or policies

Please use the above as a guide but in all cases we recommend that you seek specific advice before taking any action or withholding pay. We are available as usual on 01452 331331 or via e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read 47 times Last modified on Friday, 04 September 2020 06:58

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