It seems almost impossible to escape the discussion of Covid-19, with friends and family bringing it up at every opportunity. We know we’re bringing it up now, but this is important information and has everything you need to know about how the pandemic affects you as a contractor.
Statutory sick pay
With the government advising everyone to stay home to prevent further spread of Covid-19, you may be unable to work if you’re not deemed a key worker. Luckily, the rules of statutory sick pay (SSP) have been amended to help those struggling at this uncertain time.
During this pandemic, if you find yourself unable to work due to self-isolation from coronavirus, then you could be eligible to get SSP for every day you are in isolation, even if you’re not sick. Government guidelines advise you must self-isolate for at least 4 days in order to be eligible.
You will then receive £95.85 per week, which is paid for by the employer for up to 28 weeks. If you aren’t eligible for SSP however, including those on less than an average of £118 per week, you can claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.
To help struggling businesses, a job retention scheme, known as furlough, has been introduced. This means the government pay 80% of your wages so the company doesn’t struggle and can afford to keep you in employment once normal business is resumed.
Regarding those working under umbrella companies, it is yet to be confirmed by HMRC whether you are eligible. We are continuing to monitor the situation and awaiting further instruction from the government.
Unfortunately, for any temporary workers, if a site has shutdown you are not entitled to anything from us financially. We advise you to contact the Job Centre or Citizens Advice to see whether you are eligible to claim anything directly through them.
It’s not all doom and gloom. In some rare positive news to come out of this whole situation, IR35 has been delayed until April 2021. Cue the collective sighs of relief.
This means you can still be offered the same jobs and rates, therefore, you won’t find yourself losing out on anything. It also gives you a little more time to get to grips with what IR35 actually is, which is a great way to kill time during this lockdown.
To ensure all our workers earn as much as possible during this difficult time, we have reduced key worker fees by 50% until further notice. Key workers include healthcare workers, teachers and delivery drivers.
If you need more information regarding eligibility, then you can always contact us and we’ll answer any questions you have.