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Support for people who are self-isolating.

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First published:
30 June 2020
Last updated:


If you are employed or self-employed, there is a range of support available to you if you are self-isolating because you (or a member of your household) is displaying symptoms or has tested positive, or if you have been asked to self-isolate as part of the contact tracing process.

Notifying your employer

If you are employed and self-isolating, and you are unable to work as a result, then you should notify your employer that you are unable to work within the deadline set in your employer’s sickness absence policy (or normally within 7 days if your employer has not set one). The service will provide you with written confirmation of the instruction to self-isolate which you should share with your employer.

The responsibility of your employer

Your employer should continue to communicate with you in self-isolation and provide support. This includes allowing you to work from home if you remain well and if it is practicable to do so. This might include finding alternative work that can be completed at home during the period of self-isolation. In no circumstances should you be permitted to return to work during the self-isolation period. In terms of recording sickness, it is recommended that your employer does not record the need for you to self-isolate against your sickness record.  

Financial benefits and support for workers and the self-employed

If you are affected by coronavirus or its effect on the economy, there is a range of support available.

If you cannot work due to coronavirus and are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), you will get it from day one, rather than from the fourth day of your illness. This applies retrospectively from 13 March 2020.

You may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay if:

  • you are self-isolating because you are (or someone in your household is) displaying symptoms of coronavirus, and you’re unable to work as a result
  • you are required to self-isolate because you’ve been notified that you have come into contact with someone who has coronavirus, and you’re unable to work as a result

However if you are employed and your employer already provides their own sick pay scheme, they will be encouraged to use this rather than SSP. You should review the basic eligibility conditions for SSP and the frequently asked questions on SSP and refer to your employer for further advice.

You may also be able to get Universal Credit and Statutory Sick Pay at the same time. Universal Credit is a monthly payment to help with your living costs. If you are receiving Statutory Sick Pay it may be a good idea to apply for Universal Credit as well, particularly if you pay rent or have children to support. If you already receive Child Tax Credit or Working Tax Credit you should seek advice before making a claim for Universal Credit. You can get advice from Citizens Advice. If you get both, your Statutory Sick Pay will be taken into account when calculating your Universal Credit payment.

If you cannot work from home whilst you are self-isolating, you may also be entitled to an Employment Support Allowance (ESA). You can apply for an ESA if you have a disability or health condition that affects how much you can work, whether you’re employed, self-employed or unemployed.

If you are self-employed and are self-isolating, if it is possible for you to amend your working practices and work from home, then you should do so. But if your business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, you may be eligible for a grant through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme.

Other sources of support

If you have further questions about support for workers and the self-employed or need help with another issue, you can find help from Citizens Advice through their Advicelink Cymru service. 

Speak to a trained adviser on their national Advicelink phone line: 03444 77 20 20. Advicelink is available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday. It is usually busiest at the beginning and end of the day. It is not available on public holidays.

Advicelink Cymru is a new service in Wales helping people access the right advice when they need it. The service targets those most in need with accessible, quality-assured and impartial advice. The service is delivered by the largest network of advice partners in Wales who have expertise in engaging with specific groups and communities across Wales.

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