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Coronavirus: sick pay and leave entitlements for staff
The latest union advice and official Acas guidance all in one place.
We know you're worried about COVID-19 and the impact it could have on your school community. We're here by your side - go to our coronavirus resource hub to help you prepare for the challenges that may come and keep school life running smoothly in the meantime. We're working tirelessly and will be adding new resources to the hub - so keep an eye out!
For what you should be doing now to help prevent the spread of the virus, read this article.
If they have coronavirus
Their usual sick leave and pay entitlements will apply
For example, staff covered* by the Burgundy Book (teachers) or the Green Book (support staff) are entitled to full pay for absence due to infectious illness. This absence doesn’t count against sick leave entitlements.
*Staff in community and voluntary-controlled schools are covered, and staff in academies whose contracts transferred over at the point of conversion. Voluntary-aided and foundation schools often follow these books too, so check your policies and contracts to see if the same applies.
If they need to self-isolate
They're entitled to statutory sick pay and may also be entitled to contractual sick pay depending on their conditions
Statutory sick pay currently kicks in from the 4th day off, but the government has announced that this will be available from day 1 when the COVID-19 bill goes through. We'll update this article when this happens.
- If they're covered by the Burgundy Book they're also entitled to contractual sick pay (paragraph 10.3)
- If they're covered by the Green Book they're entitled to normal pay (paragraph 10.9)
- For all others, it’s good practice for you to also provide any contractual sick pay they’d normally receive, as per Acas guidance
If you ask them to self-isolate
You should provide them with their usual full pay
All unions* advise this, which is the official Acas line.
Make sure you're consistent in your approach to avoid claims of less favourable treatment.
If you close your school
Pay your staff their usual full pay
This is the case unless it says in their contract or is agreed otherwise, as explained in the Acas guidance.
If they need time off to look after a dependant
They're entitled to time off but there's no statutory right to pay unless your policy says so
Follow your policy to determine pay at this point. It's likely it'll provide full pay for the first day but nothing after that. ASCL told us this.
Read more about time off for dependants.
If they refuse to come in
This could be an unauthorised absence and could result in disciplinary action or withholding of salary, but do consider their situation
We’ve all read the news and there’s understandably a lot of panic flying around. However, staff are contracted to come in unless they need to self-isolate or your school is closed, so:
- Speak to them about why they don’t want to come in. Listen to their concerns and try to reassure them
- Remind them that, unless directed to close by Public Health England, the school remains open
- If none of this works, consider whether you'd let them take time off as holiday or unpaid leave
Consider whether they're particularly vulnerable and need to take precautionary measures
If, for example, they have an underlying health condition they might receive specific medical advice. If so, make any reasonable adjustments you can or offer flexible/home working if that's possible. If in doubt, seek HR advice.
See the Acas guidance.
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