The rules on sick pay have temporarily changed because of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Ordinarily, an employee would need to be absent from work due to incapacity in order to qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP), which is currently £94.25 each week. However, due to Covid-19, some employees who are still physically capable may need to be absent from work if they are self-isolating or are in mandatory quarantine. If they are isolating in accordance with guidance published by Public Health England, Public Health Wales, or NHS National Services Scotland (as applicable) and because of their isolation are unable to work (i.e. they cannot work from home), then such employees are now deemed ‘incapable’ and are entitled to SSP. Employees who are in mandatory quarantine are also deemed ‘incapable’ and entitled to SSP. SSP will also be payable from day 1 instead of day 4 for affected individuals.

To support employers, the government has announced a system of reimbursement in the budget, to refund eligible SSP costs subject to various criteria (see more on this here).

If a business pays enhanced sick pay, it is currently unclear whether it would be obliged to make such enhanced payments if an employee is self-isolating or in mandatory quarantine as set out above. While commentators are arguing that there is no obligation to make these enhanced payments, ACAS has recommended that it would be good practice to do so.