Coronavirus – what it means for you
There are things you can do to help you avoid getting coronavirus. There are also things you can do to stop the virus spreading if you think you have it.
You can read more about the symptoms of coronavirus and how to avoid it on the NHS website.
You can also read guidance on how the UK is affected by coronavirus on GOV.UK. This guidance from the government is updated every day.
You can also watch British Sign Language versions of government advice on the SignHealth website.
Check if something is a scam
Make sure you only use trusted sources of information about coronavirus. If you see emails about coronavirus from someone you don’t know, don’t click on any links or buy anything.
You can check if something is a scam.
Going to work or taking your children to school
You should still go to work and take your children to school as normal.
Your employer or your children’s school will tell you if that changes.
If your children’s school closes
Speak to your employer if you need to take time off work to look after your children. Read more about taking time off work to look after a dependant on GOV.UK.
If you’re off sick or told to stay home because of coronavirus
If you’re following government guidance because you have coronavirus symptoms, you’ll be considered unfit for work. You’ll also be considered unfit for work if you’re staying at home, or ‘self-isolating’, because you’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus.
You’ll get statutory sick pay (SSP) if you’re usually entitled to it.
If you’re not sure, you can check if you’re entitled to SSP.
It’s worth checking your contract – your employer might pay you more than SSP when you’re sick.
If you’re not sick but have been told to self-isolate and can’t work from home, you should still get your contractual sick pay on top of SSP.
You can also check your rights to sick pay if you get coronavirus on the Acas website. Acas provides free advice to employees and employers.
If you’re self-employed
You can’t get SSP if you’re self-employed.
If you have to take time off work and you don’t get paid while you’re off, you might be entitled to claim benefits. If you’re already claiming benefits, you might get more money.
If you already get benefits like Tax Credits or Housing Benefit, tell the office paying you that you can’t work because you’re sick. You might be entitled to more money while you’re off work.
If you’re not claiming any benefits you might be entitled to claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) or Universal Credit to top up your income. Check if you can claim ESA. Check if you can claim Universal Credit.
If you’re claiming benefits or asked to go to a medical assessment
You should still go to your usual appointments, for example at the Jobcentre Plus. You should also still go to any medical assessments – for example for ESA or PIP.
If you can’t go to your appointment because you’re ill or are following guidance to self-isolate, call the office paying your benefit. You’ll need to explain why you can’t go.
If you’re claiming Universal Credit, you’ll need to use your online journal to explain why you can’t go to your appointment.
You can find out more about getting Universal Credit if you’re sick.
If you call the office paying your benefit or update your online journal, you won’t be sanctioned if you don’t go to your appointment.
If you’re already getting the benefit, you’ll continue to get it if you have to cancel your appointment because of coronavirus.
If you’re going on holiday
At the moment, it’s safe to go on holiday to most places. It’s best to get travel insurance as soon as you book a holiday.
It’s worth checking the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to see what you’re covered for. You should be covered for a serious illness that stops you travelling. You might not be covered for cancelling your holiday because you’re worried you might get coronavirus.
You can check up-to-date travel guidance on GOV.UK – it’ll tell you what countries you shouldn’t go to because of coronavirus.
It’s also worth checking guidance from your travel agent, airline or other holiday provider. You might be able to rebook your holiday and go away later in the year.
You can also find out what to do if your package holiday is cancelled. If you need more help, you can get advice from the consumer service.