Earlier in the pandemic, the government extended statutory sick pay (SSP) to cover employees who are unable to work as they are self-isolating because:
- they, someone they live with, or someone in their support bubble (or extended household in Scotland and Wales) has COVID-19 symptoms or has tested positive for the virus; or
- they have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus; or
- they have been advised by a doctor or health care professional to self-isolate prior to going into hospital for surgery.
This covered the previous self-isolation period of 14 days.
Following the reduction of self-isolation periods to 10 days from 14 December 2020, the regulations have been changed so that individuals who have to self-isolate for one of the above reasons are eligible for SSP for 11 days. The 11th day is to reflect the fact that the 10-day self-isolation period begins the day after symptoms start (or, if asymptomatic, on the day of the test).
Where an individual self-isolates because they have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive (including notification by the NHS COVID-19 app), they will be eligible for SSP for the period for which they are told to self-isolate (which may be less than 10 days). If no period is given, they will be deemed to be eligible for SSP for 11 days.
Following the announcement that clinically extremely vulnerable people are being asked to shield again, employees who are shielding may also be eligible for SSP for the duration of their absence from work.
It is worth noting that, unlike normal SSP, SSP during periods of self-isolation is payable from the first day of isolation. However, an individual must self-isolate for at least four days before they are eligible for SSP.