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Coronavirus – Employment Update

23 Mar 2020

Who should still be going to work?

The Prime Minister’s statement on Monday night appeared to suggest that only key workers should be attending work from now on. However, the published government guidance clarifies that people can still go to work where they ‘absolutely cannot’ work from home. This may of course change as further guidance is issued and all workers are encouraged to maintain the 2m social distancing rule as far as possible.

Indeed, Health Secretary Matt Hancock added in his statement last night that ‘where possible, people should work from home and employers have a duty to ensure that people are more than 2m apart’.

In addition, further guidance has been produced on the businesses that are now required to close. The list, together with the various exceptions can be found here.

Further guidance is expected on this topic as well as details on some of the practicalities of implementing furloughed leave, which remain unclear.

Self-Employed Support

A proposed ‘Statutory Self-Employment Pay’ amendment to the Coronavirus Bill has now been put to The House of Commons Public Bill Committee. As of yet, there have been no measures announced to support self-employed individuals and the government’s priority has been rolling out its support systems to employees.


If the amendment is accepted, it would result in government regulations providing that freelancers and self-employed people should receive guaranteed earnings of:

(a) 80% of their monthly net earnings, averaged over the last three years; or,

(b) £2,917 per month

whichever is the lower.

However further detail is needed in relation to when self-employed workers would be able to access the support.

For further information contact our Employment Team, or call 0191 232 8345.