Covid 19 Updated
Sentient Group Ltd
Info Update 2020/07                                                         Issue Date: 17/03/2020
Covid 19 Update
We know that in our last publication we said the next one would be on forthcoming changes to Principal Statements; well guess what... here's another on Covid-19. Fear not, you have not missed it - we will be sending the one about Principal Statements later this month. 
Also, apologies for the barrage of email updates over recent weeks, but we believe it appropriate to keep you up-to-date as best as we can on the topic of the moment.  Our advice lines have been hot with queries about self-isolation and the Government’s current main message about when someone should self-isolate can be found at:

Sick Pay
In our previous Information Update, we indicated that self-isolation did not necessarily mean an employee would be entitled to SSP. However, following last weeks Government announcement, an employee should be paid at least SSP if they are required to self-isolate in accordance with advice from Public Health England.

Consequently, The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 were laid before Parliament at 4.00 p.m. on 12th March 2020 and came into force on 13th March 2020.
Whilst we generally avoid quoting legal chapter and verse, this time it is appropriate to do so.  These Regulations confirm that an employee is entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if he (or she) is:

“— (i) isolating himself [or herself] from other people in such a manner as to prevent infection or contamination with coronavirus disease, in accordance with guidance published by Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland or Public Health Wales and
(ii) by reason of that isolation is unable to work.”

This means that SSP will need to be paid in circumstances when an employee is self-isolating and unable to work. If the employee is self-isolating, but is working from home, then SSP would not be payable as they are working. If you operate a Company Sick Pay Scheme, you will need to look at the terms of that to determine whether an employee is entitled, in the circumstances, to receive Company Sick Pay e.g it maybe discretional or have service related qualifications. 

The Government also announced, that SSP would be payable from day one (instead of from day 4) but the Regulations putting this into effect have not been published (at the time of writing).

Similarly, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, in the budget stated that small employers (under 250 employees) would be able to recover the first 14 days of SSP. Again, the Regulations putting this into effect have not been published (at the time of writing). 
We will comment on both of the above once they are available. 

Risk Assessment on COVID-19
We have also had a few requests by clients for guidance on what should be included in a Risk Assessment on exposure to the Covid-19 virus.  To that end guidance on how to carry out a COVID-19 Risk Assessment along with a Word based template can be accessed by our Health & Safety clients, on the document library in the members’ area on our website. This can be accessed here.
The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of the law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.
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