Blog: Payment of Wages, Employees and COVID-19 (NI)

We’ve collated a number of queries regarding wages, employees and COVID-19. Check out the advice from our experienced team below.


I’ve tested positive for COVID-19.

If you are an employee and test positive for COVID-19 and are unable to work, your contract will provide you with details of your entitlement to wages. When you cannot work due to illness, your employer will only have to pay you what he is contractually bound to pay. Some contracts provide for full payment of wages for a number of months following incapacity and some make no provision at all. If there is no provision for payment of wages, then you will be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP). To get SSP you must earn more than £118 per week. As a result of the COVID-19 infection, the Government has changed the entitlement rules and you can now get paid SSP from your first day of incapacity (it used to be SSP was only paid after three days of incapacity).

I’m self isolating or looking after a family member who is.

If you can’t go to work because you’re self isolating on medical advice or you are caring for someone in the same household who has COVID-19 symptoms and have been told to self isolate, you should inform your employer immediately. You may be entitled to your normal wage if there is provision in your contract of employment to this effect. If not, you should be entitled to SSP as you will be deemed to be incapable of work.

My child’s school has closed or my child has been sent home to self isolate.

If you are an employee and your child’s school has been closed and you can work from home, then you should be paid by your employer as normal. If you cannot work from home, then you may be entitled to emergency time off or unpaid parental leave for a period of time. Alternatively, you may be able to take annual leave which would be paid.  If your child has been sent home from school to self isolate then an employee will be paid their normal wage if they can work from home. If not, they will be entitled to SSP.

My employer has sent me home as a precaution.

If your employer decides to send you home as a precaution – not because you are ill but in case you have been exposed to COVID-19 – you will be entitled to full pay.

My employer has closed place of business.

If your employer is forced to close their place of business and you can work from home, then you are entitled to your normal rate of pay.

My employer has reduced my hours/closed the business.

If due to a lack of demand your employer is forced to close their business temporarily or reduce your hours, you may be laid off (you do not attend or do work) or offered short time (you work less than your contracted hours) working.  Your employer can only do this if there is provision in your contract of employment enabling them to do so or you agree to such a course of action. If your employer is forced to shut the business permanently you should (subject to minimum terms of employment) be entitled to a redundancy payment.



Disclaimer: This article does not constitute legal advice. Legal advice should be sought to address specific circumstances.


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