Coronavirus: Do you get sick pay if you self-isolate? Can employers cancel your holiday?

16 March 2020, 12:37 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 08:56

By Adrian Sherling

Will you get sick pay if you decide to self-isolate during the coronavirus outbreak? Can your employer stop you going on holiday? LBC asked an employment lawyer to answer all the key questions.

The government and Prime Minister Boris Johnson have asked that anyone with coronavirus-like symptoms, including a cough or temperature of higher than 37.8C, should stay at home for seven days, without being tested for whether they have coronavirus.

With the Foreign Office adding restrictions on travel to a number of countries to try to stop the spread of Covid-19, many people are looking to change their holiday plans.

So what rights do you have with your employer? Will you get sick pay? And what about if you're self-employed? Nick Ferrari spoke to Philip Landau, an employment lawyer at specialist law firm Landau Law Solicitors to find out.

Can my employer cancel my holiday?

Yes, they can.

There are notice provisions that they have to give you - if you're due for a week off, they have to give you a week's notice. If you're due for two weeks off, they have to give you two weeks' notice.

As long as they give you that minimum notice period to cancel your holiday, they can do so.

There can be financial losses as a result of this, bu they do have the right to make that decision.

Can I cancel my holiday time off because of coronavirus?

A lot of people have told me that they want to cancel their trip to the US, for example, because of the outbreak, but employers have told them they have to have the time off.

By law, they don't have to agree to let the worker back, especially if they've made arrangements for temporary staff to come in for cover.

Hopefully, employers will look at this in a more generous light, but the fact is they don't have to. They can say, you've booked it, you have to take it.

READ MORE: Will coronavirus go away in the spring?

More and more people are being asked to work from home because of the coronavirus outbreak
Coronavirus UK: More and more people are being asked to work from home . Picture: PA

Will I get paid if I self-isolate over coronavirus?

If you are told the self-isolate over medical grounds, then you will get company or statutory sick pay.

If you decide to self-isolate simply because you think you should to stop relatives getting it, then there is no entitlement to sick pay in those circumstances unless your employer agrees to do so.

However, these are unprecedented times and employers are going to have to make some difficult decisions as to what extent they support their employees financially.

They are not obliged in those circumstances to make a payment where there is no absolute diagnosis. However, most employers will hopefully take on board what is happening and support their employees as much as they can.

But we do know that employers are going to be under severe financial pressure, so we simply don't know to what extent they will be able to support their employees.

Do self-employed people get sick pay?

If you are self-employed, you are entitled to statutory sick pay from the government.

In the Budget last week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed that the government will pay the statutory sick pay for up to 14 days for any firms with 250 employees or fewer.

They also confirmed that

What is statutory sick pay?

It is £94.25 a week. So it's not very much.