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Coronavirus - help for employees

Updated 5 January 2020.

 

 

There is different support in place for employees and people who are self-employed.

If you aren’t sure if you’re an employee or self-employed, you can use the government’s online tool.

Furlough scheme

The furlough scheme has been extended till the end of April 2021.

Employees who are furloughed should continue to receive at least 80% of their usual earnings, up to £2,500 per month. Employers will receive funding from the government to help them pay their employees' wages.

Your employer can furlough you even if you have not previously been furloughed.

To be eligible to be furloughed, you have to have been on your employer's payroll on 30 October 2020. The exception to this is if your employer made you redundant after 23 September 2020, in which case your employer can choose to re-employ you and put you on furlough.

Your employer can choose whether or not to furlough you. 

Your employer can ask you to do some work while you are on furlough. You should be paid your full wages for the hours you do work. 

It is very important to talk to your employer and make sure you understand what their plans are and what this means for you. 

Some employers have been claiming money through the furlough scheme and not passing it on to their employees.You can check what money your employer has told the government they paid you using HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC's) Employment Status online account tools.

If your employer has reported pay and you haven't been paid, please get advice.

 

Frequently asked questions

What can I do if I am not getting any hours at work or have been made redundant?

Check whether your employer had the right to cut your hours or your employer had the right to make you redundant.

Check our redundancy guide to see what to do next.

 

What can I do if my employer has reduced my hours?

You should check whether your employer has the right to reduce your hours.

If your employer is reducing your hours, you could ask them whether they would be willing to claim through the Furlough Scheme for you.

Use our Benefits Calculator to check what benefits you can claim.

Use our Grants Search to check whether there are any charities that might be able to support you.

What can I do if I have been advised by the government to shield?

Employers can furlough employees who are shielding. Talk to your employer if this applies to you. 

If you cannot do your job from home, you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay if you usually earn at least £120 per week. It does not matter how long you have been working for your employer or whether you are full-time or part-time. If you are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, you will receive £95.85 per week.

If you cannot do your job from home, and do not usually earn £120 per week, you may be able to get New Style Employment and Support Allowance instead of Statutory Sick Pay. Entitlement to New Style Employment and Support Allowance will depend on your national insurance contributions during 2018/19 and 2019/20. 

The Access to Work Scheme has additional support for people who are vulnerable to coronavirus and might need help getting to work without using public transport. Or might need additional support to keep them safe at work or enable them to work from home.

Use our Benefits Calculator to check what benefits you can claim. 

Use our Grants Search to check whether there are any charities that might be able to support you. 

If you need help accessing food or medicine, you should contact your local council who will put you in touch with volunteer groups in your area.

What can I do if I can’t work because I have to look after my child?

If you can’t do your job because you need to look after your children, you should check your employment contract. Some contracts give people paid time off to look after dependents.

Your employer has to give you time off to look after your children. However, they don’t necessarily have to pay you while you are off. Your employer can furlough you if your childcare problems are being caused by coronavirus.

Use our Benefits Calculator to check what benefits you can claim. (Link above)

Use our Grants Search to check whether there are any charities that might be able to support you. (Link above)

What if I can’t work because I am sick with coronavirus or I am self isolating because someone in my household is sick with coronavirus?

If you are an employee and you usually earn at least £120 per week, you should be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay of £95.85 per week. You might also be entitled to contractual sick pay, which would mean you would be paid more than £95.85 per week.

It doesn’t matter if you are full time or part time. As long as you earn at least £120 per week, you will be paid the full rate of Statutory Sick Pay.

Your employer should not ask you for a sick note for the first seven days. Employers have been asked not to ask for sick notes at all but some still might. If your employer does need you to provide a sick note, you can get one using the NHS online service.

If you are getting certain benefits and live in England, Scotland or Wales, you may be able to get a £500 one-off Coronavirus Self Isolation Payment to support you while you self isolate. There is a different scheme in Northern Ireland.

Use our Benefits Calculator to check what benefits you can claim. (Link above)

Use our Grants Search to check whether there are any charities that might be able to support you. (Link above)

I am worried about Council Tax. What can I do?

If you are struggling with Council Tax, use our Benefits Calculator (link above) to see if you are entitled to Council Tax Reduction. If you are, contact your council to make a claim for it.

Your council may also offer a discretionary scheme to help with Council Tax. This might be able to help even if you are not entitled to Council Tax Reduction or if your Council Tax Reduction doesn’t cover all the Council Tax you have to pay.

Some councils are offering payment holidays on Council Tax. Check your council's website to see what their rules are.

I am worried about bills. What can I do?

Mortgage

If you are struggling with your mortgage, it is important to communicate with your mortgage lender.

You can have a maximum of six months mortgage holiday in total, as long as it ends before 31 July 2021.

If you have already had six months of mortgage holiday, you should be given tailored support from your lender. Unless you agree to it, your home cannot be repossessed until 31 January 2021 at the earliest.

You can find out more about support with mortgage payments on the Financial Conduct Authority website.

If you are struggling with debt, you should get free, confidential, non-judgemental debt advice.

Rent

If you are struggling with your rent, first check what help you can get through the benefits system by using our Benefits Calculator. (Link above)

If you live in Wales, you may be able to get a loan to help pay your rent.

If you live in Scotland, you may be able to get a loan to help pay your rent or rent arrears.

You could also speak to your landlord and ask if they would be willing to let you pay rent late. If you are behind on your rent, it is very important you get advice as soon as possible. 

Household bills

If you are struggling with household bills, speak to your utility providers and let them know why you’re struggling.

Lots of utility providers have schemes in place to help people who are struggling with money because of coronavirus.

Debts

If you have debts, get in touch with your creditors and ask them if you could suspend payment. Lots of lenders have special policies in place to help people who are affected by coronavirus. The payment holiday scheme is due to be extended, but the details have not been worked out yet.

If you are struggling with keeping on top of debt payments, you should get free, independent, non-judgemental debt advice.

Everyone knows this is a stressful, difficult time for a lot of people. There is a lot of support out there but if you don’t ask for it you won’t get it.

Updated: 5 January 2021

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