Self-isolation and Statutory Sick Pay: what are the rules?

Most people will have experienced a significant change to both their work and personal life as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. While some normality seems to be resuming, it is clear from the local lockdown measures and additions to the ‘travel quarantine list’ that regular changes to regulations are to be expected for quite a while.

Self-isolation is one of the biggest changes that have been brought in, and one that is likely to cause some headaches for employers and employees alike.

When do you need to self-isolate?

Self-isolation means a person must stay in their home for a set period of time. This means you cannot go to a shop, have visitors or leave your house to work. You must self-isolate if:

  • You have tested positive for coronavirus
  • You have coronavirus symptoms
  • You live with someone who, or someone in your support bubble, has tested positive or has symptoms
  • You are told by the NHS Test and Trace that you’ve been in contact with someone who has tested positive
  • You travel to a country on the UK’s ‘quarantine list’.

Will my employer still pay me if I have to self-isolate?

Unfortunately, the answer to this is not simple.

If you cannot work because you must self-isolate then you are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you are self-isolating because you (or someone you live with or someone in your support bubble) has tested positive or has symptoms, or if you are contacted by Test and Trace. You will need to produce an isolation note which can be issued from the NHS website.

However, if you have to self-isolate because you have travelled to a country on the UK’s ‘quarantine list’ then you are not entitled to SSP. So, for example, many people had travelled to Spain from the UK and were in the country when Spain was added back on to the quarantine list. Those individuals would have to self-isolate upon their return, and would not be entitled to SSP – even though Spain was not on the list when they began their trip.

What are my employment rights if I have travelled to a country on the ‘quarantine list’?

If you have travelled to a country on the ‘quarantine list’, you will have to self-isolate upon your return and are not entitled to SSP. Your employer is under no obligation to pay you in this instance.

If you are able, and your employer agrees, then you could work from home during this time – which would be at your normal rate of pay. If you have enough annual leave left, you could also take this time as annual leave. Alternatively, you may be able take this time as unpaid leave if your employer will allow it.

Working together

It is vital that both employers and employees understand their changing rights and obligations at this time. Employers and employees are strongly encouraged to work together and to be as flexible as possible during a difficult time.

Verisona Law is on-hand if you have any questions about employment law, both from an employee and employer perspective. With constant revisions and changes taking place, consulting an expert can help ensure that you fully understand what you can and cannot do at this time. Get in touch with our team today for a free, no-obligation chat on 02392 98 1000 or email

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Wrongful dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Unlawful discrimination
  • Harassment and victimisation
  • Equal pay
  • Unlawful deduction of wages
  • Breaches of contract
  • Protected disclosures (whistle blowing)
  • Transfer of undertaking (TUPE)
  • Settlement agreements

Sports and Football Law

  • Contracts of Employment
  • Service Agreements
  • Contractual Issues
  • Executive Departures

"Over the years, I have developed a great trust in my working relationship with Mike Dyer, Head of Commercial Law at Verisona. One of the things I value most is that he is always at the end of a phone. On the rare occasions he is unavailable, his secretary is always well informed and very helpful. Through Mike, I have met many other members of Verisona and, just like in the recruitment industry, they understand the importance of being treated like an individual. They make me feel valued and important to both them and their business. At Verisona, you always deal with real people who you know and are in a position to help. Most importantly, Verisona delivers. We recently had an urgent situation regarding the restrictive covenants of new members of staff. Employment specialist Susan Ball came in on a day off to listen to us, dissect and analyse the situation, and translate what we wanted to achieve into the best possible legal language and solution. This is just one example of the calm, efficient professionalism I have come to value from Verisona over the years. Verisona has a refreshing approach to the law. They are there when we need them, always easy to talk to, go out of their way to make sure that we understand what they are doing for us and why, and always get the best results".

Stuart Cox

Legally enforcing the tribunal award

To enforce the Tribunal award we applied to the Defendant’s local County Court for it to be registered and for permission to enforce the award.  

The Court granted the application and on the Register of Judgments, Orders and Fines.  As a result the Tribunal award would appear as a County Court Judgment which would likely affect the Defendant’s credit rating. 

Time limits for enforcing Tribunal awards

It is worth noting that there is no time restriction for registering or enforcing a Tribunal award. You can enforce one even if it is several years old.  In addition, it is usually possible to claim interest on the amount until you receive payment.

A commercial business

"Thanks for all your help on this - you've been so helpful to me in guiding and explaining everything, so just to say thank you for obviously helping represent my case but also allowing me to understand the process and giving me greater awareness of what I need to be mindful of when signing future contracts".

Former employee of professional football club

Sue was easy to deal with and offered all options available. Jane was in contact beforehand to tell me what information was needed and Sue was prepared for our meeting. I cannot praise Sue and Jane enough and would have absolutely no hesitation in reommending Sue and her team.

Mr B

Make an