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I have to self-isolate and my employer requires evidence of my sickness absence. What should I do?

If you are an employee and have to self-isolate because you or someone you live with has symptoms of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) then you are likely entitled to some form of sick pay – whether contractual or statutory.

Remember that for the first seven days off work employees can self-certify: they don’t need to get evidence of their sickness absence for their employer. After that, however, employers may require evidence of sickness absence.

The Government has now introduced “isolation notes” which will provide employees with evidence for their employers that they have been advised to self-isolate due to coronavirus. These can be obtained online at the NHS 111 website ( You can obtain them for yourself or for somebody else if they are too ill to go online.

If you have to self-isolate but still feel well enough to work you should ask your employer if you can work from home. If you can, then you will not need an isolation note and will remain entitled to full pay. If your employer says there is not enough work for you then you should refer to our handy FAQs on the Coronavirus Retention Scheme.

For those who are self-employed or not eligible for statutory sick pay for some other reason (because for example they are on a zero hours contract and do have not earned an average of at least £118 per week before tax in the past eight weeks from one employer) the government’s current advice remains to sign up for state benefits (Universal Credit). 

Pressure is growing on the Chancellor, however, to announce a similar package for self-employed people to the Coronavirus Retention Scheme which has recently been put in place for employees. Watch this space.

Given how rapidly things are changing at the minute, you should always check the latest and public health England websites for the most up to date guidance.

You can find more information on your employment rights and how we can help you HERE. Alternatively, you speak to one of our employment law experts on 0808 168 5550.

Cartwright King has lawyers in most areas of law, and the current information we are sharing is written by employment lawyers Deborah Scales and Philip Pearson of Cartwright King.

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