By Pauline Hughes, Trainee Solicitor
On 11 March 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunsak announced his budget for the coming year.
As well as providing the forecast for spending in relation to the expected matters, for example in relation to tax, public finances, transport and infrastructure, of particular note were the measures that the Government has announced it will implement to tackle the spread of the coronavirus.
Of notable interest to employers, the Government has confirmed the following:
- If people fall ill as a result of coronavirus or cannot get to work, the Government has committed to support their finances in the anticipated challenging period to come;
- The Government is in the process of drafting emergency legislation to deal with coronavirus so that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will, during this temporary period, be payable from the first day of absence rather than from the fourth day of absence;
- Everyone who is advised to self-isolate will be entitled to SSP, even if they have not yet presented with symptoms of coronavirus;
- Rather than having to go to the GP, people will soon be able to obtain a fit note (sick note) by calling 111;
- Self-employed workers who are not eligible for SSP will be able to claim contributory Employment Support Allowance (ESA), with the ESA being available from day one of absence, rather than day eight;
- The Government will refund small employers (with fewer than 250 employees) in respect of SSP payments for the first fourteen days of absence for each employee where the employee is off work due to coronavirus; and
- The Government is introducing a "business interruption" loan scheme to support small and medium sized businesses as a result of the challenges presented by coronavirus. Under this scheme, it has been announced that banks will offer loans of up to £1.2 million, to enable business to pay salaries, pay bills and/or buy new stock.
If you would like to discuss the above, or you require support or advice on any other employment law matters, please do not hesitate to contact the team on 0141 331 5150