What are your rights at work if you catch coronavirus?

Legal expert explains employees' entitlements if coronavirus forces you to call in sick.

The Scottish Government has warned that up to 80% of the population might eventually catch coronavirus.

And in its action plan, the UK Government said a fifth of workers could be off sick at the same time in a worst-case scenario.

So what are your employment rights if you catch the virus and need to take time off work?

We asked Laura Macdonald, a senior associate at legal firm Jackson Boyd, to answer your questions.

Am I entitled to sick pay if I contract coronavirus?

Should you contract coronavirus, your employer’s sickness absence policy (and the payments that you are entitled to) would apply.

If your employer has no sickness absence policy, you will be entitled to statutory sick pay if you are absent for more than three days.

Allowances may need to be made regarding providing proof of illness, as it is unlikely you would be able to obtain a fit note from your GP.

Will I be paid if I need to isolate myself?

As you would not technically be on sickness absence, there is no legal entitlement to sickness pay. Your employer may however adopt a more flexible approach to your absence should this situation arise. This would need to be discussed with them directly.

If you are ordered to self-isolate, and do so on receipt of a written notice issued by your GP or NHS 24 on 111 then you are likely entitled to statutory sick pay. If you are able to obtain such a notice, you should forward to your employer.

My employer has told me not to attend work – should I be paid for this?

If your employer requests that you do not attend work, provided you are fit, available and willing to attend, you should receive pay as normal.

Can I take time off to care for dependants who are affected by coronavirus?

If you have dependants you are entitled to time off in the event of an emergency or unexpected event. This would certainly apply if there are school closures and you are required to arrange childcare, or if you need to help a dependent because they are sick or are required to enter a period of isolation.

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