The Covid-19 situation is changing rapidly and we will be making regular updates to these pages so please check back regularly for the latest.
What is the best advice if we think we have the symptoms of Covid-19 (coronavirus) (e.g. a high temperature and/or new, continuous cough) or have had close contact with someone who has?
England – contact the NHS here
Northern Ireland – contact HSC Public Health Agency here
Republic of Ireland – use the HSE service here who will put you in contact with your local Department of Public Health staff to give you information and advice.
Scotland – use the NHS Inform service here
Wales – use the NHS Direct service here
In all cases use the online or telephone services and do not visit your doctor.
What evidence do we require for self-certification due to Covid-19 / coronavirus or self-isolation?
If UK employees are off work for 7 days or less due to illness or upon having been explicitly advised to self-isolate by the NHS due to Covid 19 symptoms, they do not need to give their employer a fit note or other proof of sickness from a medical professional. The worker can self-certify for absences of 7 days or less, by completing a self-certification form or by confirming the same level of detail in an email to their consultant, where that email is clear that it has come from the employed worker. All communications are treated in the strictest confidence.
From Friday 20 March onwards, those who have COVID-19 or are advised to self-isolate will be able to obtain an “isolation note” by visiting NHS 111 online and completing an online form, rather than visiting a doctor. For COVID-19 cases this replaces the usual need to provide a “fit note” after seven days of sickness absence. Isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend.
As the law currently stands, SSP is only payable from Day 4 of the absence. However, we are aware that there are current plans to amend this law specifically in response to coronavirus-related sickness absences (including mandated self-isolation), under which employees will be paid from Day 1 and the employer can recover the costs of the first three days of SSP from the government. Adecco will of course act in full compliance with the law once it is enacted.
Will I still get paid if I self-isolate?
In the UK, if Government advice is that you should self-isolate, then you will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if your contract specifies. If you have merely chosen to self-isolate then, as per your contract, you will not automatically be entitled to be paid. Choosing to self-isolate beyond what is medically required is treated as a voluntary matter and we would not normally pay workers in such circumstances.
Do I have to be currently on assignment to qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)?
To be entitled to SSP, employees must meet the below criteria:
- Have average weekly earnings at least equal to the lower earnings limit (LEL), currently £118.00.
- Be currently engaged on a PAYE basis by an Adecco Group brand. For our employed associates this does not mean you must currently be on assignment, but you must have commenced at least one assignment under your employment contract.
- Outside of an assignment there are no specific days that an employee is required to work and therefore in accordance with SSP regulations the qualifying day will default to a Wednesday. An employee would then qualify for SSP on the fourth Wednesday from the first day of sickness. We are aware that there are current plans to amend this law specifically in response to Coronavirus-related sickness absences (including mandated self-isolation), under which employees will be paid SSP from Day 1. The Adecco Group will of course act in full compliance with the law once it is enacted.
In the Republic of Ireland, workers can apply direct to the government for illness benefit. In response to COVID-19, the Irish government have introduced emergency SSP pay measures which will allow all affected workers to claim €305 per week from day 1 of sickness absence, including self-isolation (effective and backdated to 9th March).
Can our employed associates benefit from a furlough and receive 80% of their pay?
The Government published guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme late on Thursday 26th March 2020 and clarified for the first time that the scheme extended to agency workers working through PAYE. After successful lobbying by the Adecco Group and others for urgent clarification of financial support for our agency workers, we were grateful to receive the Governments guidance. We have reviewed the published guidance and have raised some further questions of government, and will communicate further as soon as more details are available as to how the scheme will work.
You can of course claim unused holiday pay up to your accrued balance and your branch Consultant will be happy to help you.
I have been working on assignment however the business/site I was working at has closed for a period, what am I entitled to?
This is dependent on the arrangements with the client and the assignment status. If the client is unable to offer any payment for this period, we will where possible seek other work for the worker during the shut-down period.
If I am not eligible for SSP in the UK, can I request holiday pay for this period?
Yes, if you are not eligible for SSP for any reason and are not currently in assignment or receiving any other statutory payments (e.g. Maternity Pay) you can request holiday for this period. You should request your holiday in the normal way through your local branch.
Will limited company workers get sick pay?
Where a worker chooses to provide their service through a limited company, our contract will be with the limited company and not the worker. As such limited company workers are not normally entitled to in work benefits such as SSP.
Can Limited Company workers benefit from the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme?
It may be possible for workers who are supplied through their own limited companies (PSCs) to furlough themselves – they would need to take their own independent legal advice on this.
What about the Statutory Self-Employed Pay Scheme?
In addition to the CJRS, the UK Government announced a separate statutory self-employed payment scheme which could benefit those working on a sole trader basis.
Will workers paid via umbrella companies get sick pay or furlough pay?
The Adecco Group only works with umbrella companies that offer PAYE solutions and so such workers would be employed for tax purposes by the relevant umbrella company. They should contact their umbrella company provider for details about entitlement to statutory sick pay.
The “Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme” would still apply to these workers. Their Adecco Group consultant will in turn liaise with the end client and umbrella company to determine whether or not the worker would need to be placed on furlough. workers should speak to their umbrella company for further details.
If I care for a child whose school has closed will I still get paid?
As a worker, you would not normally be entitled to be paid if you’re not working. However, we are encouraging all our clients to facilitate alternative arrangements wherever possible which will allow workers to continue to work and be paid.
Do I still have to visit a branch in person to show my ‘Right to Work’?
Following UK Government requirements, our UK branch network staff will all be working from home for 3 weeks with effect from 24th March. However, due to our investment in the latest technology, we will be able to verify documents remotely via video links and other means.
Please contact your local branch by email or telephone to discuss options for this to be completed.
How is the Adecco Group following Government advice?
Although our UK branches are closed, we are still very much ‘open for business’ and here to help. Wherever practicable we are enabling our staff to work from home as per the advice of the UK and Republic of Ireland Governments.
Of course, this may mean that you may notice some background noise from family life when we are speaking to you via phone or video conferencing. Our colleagues have families (and pets!) too so hopefully this won’t be too distracting and we will all pull together during these difficult times.
Can I claim SSP if I have signed a contract of employment but have never been on assignment with you?
No. Employment under our General Staffing employment contracts does not commence until the Employee has commenced his/her first assignment after their employment contract is signed
Can a worker claim expenses due to working from home?
This would be dependent on the client’s process and for the client to have a process in place if they are happy to pay expenses. If the client does not have an expense process then the worker will be unable to claim expenses.
Would one of my workers be seen as a key worker by the client?
This would be for the client to determine. If they believe there is a reasonable basis for this then consultants may ask our clients to confirm and communicate this to the worker accordingly. Where applicable we are asking Clients to provide letters to workers evidencing that they are key workers.
I am feeling worried about Covid-19 and my personal situation, is there any mental health support available?