The Government has amended the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 to provide that employees who are notified by a registered medical practitioner (or anybody else authorised to do so) that they need to self- isolate for up to 14 days prior to surgery or other hospital treatment and will be entitled to SSP. The employees will actually have to self-isolate to comply with the requirements and it will only apply to those who are unable to work from home while self-isolating. 

Prior to the introduction of this new regulation it was reported that the government was “encouraging” employers to pay their staff who found themselves in this situation. For those employees who didn’t receive payments they were left to take annual leave or unpaid leave.

The introduction of this entitlement will hopefully encourage those needing hospital treatment to self-isolate when notified by their hospital, hopefully reducing the potential spread of COVID-19 to those with whom they come into contact in the hospital. 

The introduction has broadly been welcomed. Criticism, however, remains over payment being limited to SSP, as well as the fact that it does not extend to those who live in the same household who may also be required by some hospitals to self-isolate. Critics argue that those in the same household who are unable to work from home may refuse to self- isolate if they don’t get paid, thus damaging the whole purpose of self-isolation.