Free and accessible employment advice and support is vital, case study

A client contacted us very understandably distressed about her situation. She is a carer who works for a large Scottish company, working 50-70 hours per week to support her four children. She has a life-limiting condition and is therefore required to self-isolate for 12 weeks, in line with the Scottish Government’s shielding health guidance.

She got in touch with Govan Law Centre’s online services for advice after her employer wrongly informed her that she was not eligible for the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and that she would only be entitled to 14 days Statutory Sick Pay, and no pay after that. She was obviously extremely worried about how she was going to cope financially.

We contacted the employer on our client’s behalf to clarify that from 13 March 2020, regulation 2 of the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020/287) amends the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982, to include those self-isolating in line with public health guidance. Given that our client falls within this category, she is entitled to receive payment of Statutory Sick Pay throughout her period of self-isolation.

We also pointed out that it is incorrect that someone shielding in line with Government guidance is not eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The government guidance states that “Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance can be placed on furlough”. We repeated our client’s request to be furloughed in terms of the scheme.

Whilst we have not yet had a direct response to our client’s request, we understand that the employer has now sent an email to all of their workers in Scotland advising that they can be furloughed if approved by HR, and updating the position on Statutory Sick Pay. Govan Law Centre are delighted that, after advice, our client’s predicament looks like it will soon be resolved. In these rapidly moving and unprecedented times, free and accessible employment advice and support is key.

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