Coronavirus: Employment, Benefits & Financial Support


Going to Work

You should travel to work, including to provide voluntary or charitable services, where you cannot work from home and your workplace is open.

With the exception of the organisations covered here in the section on closing businesses and venues, the government has not required any other businesses to close to the public – it is important for business to carry on.

If you cannot work from home then you can still travel for work purposes, provided you are not showing coronavirus symptoms and neither you nor any of your household are self-isolating. This is consistent with advice from the Chief Medical Officer.

Full guidance on going to work during the coronavirus crisis can be found here.

Working safely during coronavirus

The government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.

The guidance is designed to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 8 guides cover a range of different types of work:

Construction and other outdoor work

Factories, plants and warehouses

Labs and research facilities

Offices and contact centres

Other people's homes

Restaurants offering takeaway or delivery

Shops and branches


Sick Pay

You can get £95.85 per week Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you’re too ill to work. It’s paid by your employer for up to 28 weeks.

If you are staying at home because of COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to do a household quarantine.

You could get SSP for every day you’re in isolation. You must self isolate for at least 4 days to be eligible.

You’ll need an ‘isolation note’ if you cannot work for 7 or more days because of coronavirus (COVID-19). 

If you are not sure whether you need to self-isolate, check the NHS guidance here.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - Being 'Furloughed'

Employers may choose to furlough employees under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme if they cannot maintain their current workforce because their operations have been severely affected by coronavirus. You need to have been on your employer's PAYE payroll on or before 19 March 2020.

If you are furloughed:

  • You could get paid 80% of your wages, up to a monthly cap of £2,500

Once you are on furlough you will not be able to work for your employer. You can undertake training or volunteer subject to public health guidance, as long as you’re not:

  • making money for your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer
  • providing services to your employer or a company linked or associated to your employer

Full information for employees on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, including the detailed information on eligibility, can be found here.


Financial Support

For people already claiming support

People will continue to receive benefits as normal but you will not be required to attend jobcentre appointments for at least 3 months, starting from 19 March 2020.

Universal Credit:

If you’re working while claiming Universal Credit, your payment will be adjusted if you can no longer work due to coronavirus. 

The standard allowance increased on 6 April 2020. For example, for a single Universal Credit claimant (aged 25 and over) it has increased from £317.82 to £409.89 a month.

Full guidance on changes to Universal Credit here.

For people who need to make a new claim for financial support

Those affected by coronavirus will be able to apply for Universal Credit and can receive up to a month’s advance up front without physically attending a jobcentre.

The 7 waiting days for ESA for new claimants will not apply if they are suffering from coronavirus or are required to stay at home – so it will be payable from day one.

Self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of coronavirus will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected

Full guidance on eligibility and applying for financial support can be found here.