You have been told to self isolate: what are your rights as an employee?

By March 18, 2020For Talent

You may have been told by your GP to self isolate…

You might not be sick, but you may have come into contact with someone that is. Or, you may have to stay home and care for someone that is sick from COVID-19

So, what does this mean for your work?

If you are not sick, but you cannot go to work because you have to care for a sick child or other relative, you can ask for paid leave. If your employer cannot give you paid leave, you can ask for statutory leave. Statutory means that the leave is set out in law, for example, your right to parental leave.

Employers have been asked to be as flexible as possible in assisting employees with care arrangements.

This could include:

  • Offering paid compassionate leave
  • Allowing you to work from home
  • Altering your shifts, so that you can coordinate caring between you and your partner, or another person.
  • Allowing you to rearrange holidays
  • Allowing you to take paid time off that you can work back at a later time

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If none of the options above is available to you, and you cannot arrange for paid leave from your employer, you can apply for one of the statutory schemes below.

  • Force majeure leave (this is paid leave)
  • Parental leave if you are looking after a child up to the age of 12 (or 16 if the child has a disability)
  • Parent’s leave if you are caring for a child up to the age 1 who was born after 1 November 2019

You are allowed to take 3 days force majeure leave in a 12-month period, or 5 days in a 36 month period. You can ask your employer to allow you to take the full 5 days paid force majeure leave together.

You normally give your employer 6 weeks’ notice if you want to take parental or parent’s leave, but you can ask your employer to wave this notice period, given the unprecedented circumstances.

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Your employer does not have to pay you when you are on parental or parent’s leave. If you are on parent’s leave you can apply for Parent’s Benefit.

If you are on parental leave, you can apply for means-tested Supplementary Welfare Allowance.

You can find more information regarding jobseekers allowance, and social welfare around the Coronavirus outbreak here

Mind yourselves. 

Author Rebecca O'Keeffe

More posts by Rebecca O'Keeffe

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