COVID-19 Guidance for Employees and Employers

Steve McCabe MP has put together some help and guidance for employees and employers during the coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19 guidance for Employees:  

Working from home:  

Where possible, the government is encouraging employees to work from home. If you are asked to work from home your employer should pay you as normal and keep in regular contact.  

If this is not possible your employer can discuss with you other ways to avoid unnecessary social contact including: flexible work hours to allow employers to travel when public transport is less busy, holding meetings over the phone or online to avoid unnecessary contact, providing a car parking space.  


If you have coronavirus symptoms 

Stay at home if you have a fever and/or a new continuous cough, you should stay at home for 7 days. For further guidance please see:  


Sick Pay:  

Employees entitled to Statutory Sick Pay must receive it if they: have coronavirus, have coronavirus symptoms, have been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 11 or someone in their household has coronavirus symptoms. To find out if you are eligible for SSP visit: you may also want to ask your employer. Sick pay will now be paid to those effected by the virus from day 1 instead of day 4.  

If you are on a zero-hours contract you should speak directly to your employer to check if you are entitled to SSP.  

If you are self-employed or not eligible for SSP the government is recommending you submit a claim for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance, please see “Starting a Benefit Claim” section for help on how to do this. 


Self Employed:  

The Government have introduced the Self-employment Income Support Scheme which will allow the self-employed to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of your trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month.

To be able to apply to the scheme you will need to have submitted your Income Tax Self Assessment tax return for 2018-19. To allow time for the self-employed to apply to the scheme, the deadline for submitting your tax return has been extended to 23 April 2020.

To find out if you are eligible and for details on how to apply please visit:

If you are self-employed and you require further assistance you can call the Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565  

For any further information and advice for employees affected by COVID-19 please visit:  


COVID-19 guidance for Employers and Businesses:  


Working from Home:  

The government is asking employers and businesses to accommodate and encourage employees to work from home where applicable. This is particularly important for members of staff who are in a vulnerable group.  


If a staff member has the symptoms:  

If a staff member has a high temperature and/or a new continuous cough they should stay at home for 7 days, if they develop symptoms while at work they should be sent home immediately. Staff should be paid sick pay if they have are having to stay at home because they have the symptoms or someone in their household does. If evidence is required for the isolation period beyond the first 7 days of absence, a note can be obtained from NHS 111 online.  


If an employee needs time off to care:  

Employees are entitled to time-off work to care for a dependent in the case of an emergency. This would cover coronavirus related needs including caring for dependents if their school is closed and to help a dependent if they are sick.  

If you require any further advice regarding the above sections, please visit:   


Business Support – Sick Pay:  

The government has said they will allow small and medium sized businesses employers to reclaim SSP costs for staff off-work due to COVID-19 for up to 2 weeks.  

Businesses are eligible if they are UK based and has less than 250 employees. For more information please see:  


Business Rates Holiday:  

There will be a Business Rate holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year.  

To receive this no action is needed, it will apply to your next Council Tax bill in April 2020. Birmingham City Council will be reissuing updated bills.  

For more information please visit: 


Cash grants for businesses:  

The Retail and Hospitality Grant Scheme will provide cash grants to businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sector.  

Businesses with a rateable value of under £15,000 will receive a grant of £10,000. Businesses with a rateable value of £15,001 – £51,000 will receive a grant of £25,000  

Birmingham City Council will write to businesses that qualify   


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme:  

The Loan Scheme will offer loans of up to £5m to support SMEs, available from Monday 23rd March. The Government will cover the interest on these loans for the first twelve months.  

To qualify the business must be UK-based in its business activity, with annual turnover of no more than £45m.  

To find and more and to download an application form visit: 

You will need to send your completed application form to:  


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme:  

Employers will be able to apply for a grant from HMRC to continue paying staff that may otherwise have been paid off during the crisis. The grant will cover 80% of wages up to a limit of £2500 per month for those employees that are not working but are kept on the payroll. The payments will be backdated to 1st March and will be available for three months initially.   

HMRC are working to urgently to set up a system to reimburse employers, keep an eye on the government’s website for details in the coming days.  

If you are self-employed or a small business owner, the National Federation of Self Employed & Small Businesses have a range of additional information and guidance on their website:  


HMRC Time to Pay:  

Any business or self-employed person paying tax who has outstanding tax liabilities may be eligible for support from HMRC’s Time to Pay service. If you have missed a tax payment or are concerned you will miss your next payment, please call HMRC’s dedicated helpline: 0800 0159 559, Monday to Friday 8am – 4pm.   

If you have any other questions or quires please contact the Business Support Helpline on 0300 456 3565, available Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm 

Published by

Steve McCabe

Steve McCabe is the Labour MP for Birmingham, Selly Oak, and has been an MP continuously since 1 May 1997.

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