Coronavirus And Employment Law

Workplaces must be COVID-secure, and there have been employment law changes to sick pay rules and annual leave.

Coronavirus Changes

The coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has resulted in employment law changes to sick pay rules and working time, so that annual leave can be carried over.

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has enabled employers to “furlough” staff where there is no work for them to do, and claim a grant to cover a proportion of their wages.

Workplaces must be made COVID-secure.

Statutory Sick Pay

The law on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) has been changed to cover people who self-isolate because of coronavirus, and to make it payable from the first day of a period of entitlement in those cases.

The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Suspension of Waiting Days and General Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force on 28 March 2020 and suspended the limitation, set out in section 155(1) of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, that Statutory Sick Pay is not payable for the first three qualifying days in a period of entitlement.

The Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 are also amended to specify when a person isolating because of coronavirus is deemed to be incapable of work, by inserting a schedule which specifies when a person is deemed to be incapable of work because the person is staying at home.

If you are are self-isolating because of coronavirus, there is more information about the number of days for which you may be paid SSP here:

Information about SSP (

Annual Leave

The Working Time Regulations were, with effect from 28 March 2020, amended to allow annual leave that cannot be taken because of coronavirus to be carried over into the next two leave years to allow employers and employees more flexibility.

Health And Safety

Employers have a legal duty under the Health and Safety at Work Act to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all their employees.

An employer who fails to ensure safety by following the Government advice and guidance regarding the possibility of its workers being infected by COVID-19 risks being in breach of statutory and common law duties.

The Health and Safety Executive has published guidance for employers on carrying out risk assessments to ensure they are doing what is necessary:

Health and Safety Executive guidance

COVID-secure Workplaces

There is industry-specific guidance to making workplaces COVID-secure here:

How to Make Your Workplace COVID-secure (

Job Retention Scheme

The UK Government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme enabling some employers to claim a grant to cover a proportion of the wages of employees who had been “furloughed” or not required to work because there was no work for them because their operations have been affected by coronavirus restrictions.

The scheme was closed to new entrants from 30 June 2020 and the level of grant was reduced from 1 September 2020. It was due to close on 31 October 2020, but was extended until December 2020, then it was further extended until 31 March 2021, then until 30 April 2021.

In the Budget on 3 March 2021 it was announced the scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021, although with changes to the level of grant from July 2021.

More information about the scheme (

Changes to the scheme from July 2021 (

Sickness And Sick Pay

Working Time Regulations

Health And Safety

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Last Updated on April 21, 2021 by Admin