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Supposed to be shielding – sick pay or furlough?

Home Messageboards Work and HR Forum Supposed to be shielding – sick pay or furlough?

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    I’m supposed to be shielding for 12 weeks. I already had annual leave booked so took that, but now my employer says I have to take the rest of the time unpaid because I can’t do my job from home. Are they allowed to do that? What are my options? Im not sick so can’t claim sick pay but can’t got to work as I’m a vulnerable person and not supposed to leave the house.

    Sam SmithSam Smith

    Hi Jules,

    I think it depends on what you do for a living. Some industries have more support from the government than others. Have the offered to furlough staff and are they in receipt of government aid?




    My housemate is now sick so I have to self-isolate even though I’m not sick. I can’t work from home either and my boss is saying I only get statutory sick because I haven’t worked there enough to get the company sick pay. THey have to pay at least statutory, I think?


    Hi Jules,

    Sorry to hear your employer is being difficult. They’re obliged to follow health and safety guidance – which includes protecting you from the virus if you’ve been identified as a vulnerable person. However, they don’t have to pay you sick pay (as you’re not sick).

    You can – and should – ask them to furlough you, instead. If they refuse, you may have grounds on a discrimination case if your chronic condition (which has led to the Govt advising you to shield) is considered a disability. This means it must have a long-term impact on your daily living – which , for most people advised to shield, is the case.


    Let us know how you get on!


    An update: just announced, the Govt has officially extended Statutory Sick Pay for all those who have been advised by letter from the Govt to shield for 12 weeks:


    So, Jules, you can now at least get SSP for the full 12 weeks! Hope this helps 🙂



    Thanks Annie


    I have a relative with a chronic illness that unfortunately means sometimes they are unable to work at all for short periods. If this occurs in the near future, will this stop them being furloughed? And will they move onto sick pay instead?

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