Covid-19: Extension of Statutory Sick Pay and Benefit Measures

Following calls from the Opposition, the Government announced reforms to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and benefits on Friday 13 March 2020 which will help delay the spread of Covid-19 and ensure people are not penalised for doing the right thing. These measures will provide a boost of almost £0.5 billion to our welfare system. They come into effect from Friday 13 March 2020 and will:

  • Extend SSP to those who are self-isolating in line with Government health guidance.
  • Adjust the Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit rules to ensure people are entitled to money from day 1.
  • Support self-employed people, including in the gig-economy, to receive welfare payments for periods of self-isolation.

This will provide certainty to eligible individuals that they will be entitled to receive Statutory Sick Pay if they are unable to work because they are following government advice in relation to Covid-19, including those who are self-isolating as a precautionary measure without symptoms. 

This legislation will also mean that people affected by Covid-19 who need financial help will be able to access the benefit system without the need to provide medical evidence or attend a work capability assessment. The seven waiting days for Employment and Support Allowance for new claimants suffering from coronavirus or required to self-isolate will not apply, so it will be payable from day one.