MILLIONS of self-employed workers affected by the coronovirus outbreak will be able to get sick pay through Universal Credit.
The government is also suspending all Jobcentre visits for those affected by COVID-19, including those who are self-isolating, while the outbreak is ongoing.
Households will be able to manage their benefits over the phone of via their work journal instead, without the risk of being sanctioned for missing a visit.
Businesses with fewer than 250 employees will also be able to claim back the cost of providing statutory sick pay due to staff being affected by coronavirus from the government.
Employees will also no longer have to provide a sick note if they’re off work due to coronavirus.
Instead, the government and NHS say staff will be able to use the 111 call service to get a notification that can be used as evidence of being unfit to work.
This will come into effect in the coming weeks.
Mr Sunak added: “Those on contributory employment and support allowance will be able to claim from day one instead of day eight to make sure that time spent off work due to sickness is reflected in your benefits.
“I’m also temporarily removing the minimum income floor in Universal Credit.”
Government advice has been to self-isolate for up to two weeks if you show signs of the virus or have been in physical contact with someone who has it.
While many staff will be entitled to sick pay during this time, 1.5million self-employed workers will suffer loss of income.
Those who need to take time off can get help with their income loss with contributory Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
But there is currently a week-long delay before getting the payment, which could discourage those on low incomes from taking time off work despite needing to self-isolate due to the illness.