With the challenges that COVID-19 is bringing to people across the planet, the inevitable and already stretched healthcare system in the UK will bring about a reduction in the workforce due to either self-isolation and/or contraction of the virus.

The UK Government and NHSE foresee at the peak of the outbreak in the UK, the NHS workforce could be reduced by up to 50%, but how will this affect those who work full-time or part-time locum roles in the NHS?

Here’s our guide on what level of cover will available to you, if you have to self-isolate or take time off due to the Coronavirus.

1. Your ability to access Statutory Sick Pay when working for an Umbrella Company or through agency payroll. Whether you’re working for an Umbrella Company or being paid through an Agency, you will have access to some statutory benefits that should include sick pay if you are currently ‘in-contract’. You will need to check if you will receive either ‘Contractual Sick Pay’ (an agency or Umbrella companies’ own option of sick pay, please check your contract), or the legal, national rate of Statutory Sick Pay.

A guide to Statutory Sick Pay from the UK Government.

2. Self-employed by your own Limited Company. If you have set up as your own enterprise, through your own Limited Company, there are fewer options for you in regard to receiving SSP, but they are available. According to the UK Government, SSP can be paid to an employer if they meet certain criteria, including being ill for more than 4 days in a row up to a maximum of 28 weeks. You would then need to discuss with your accountant the means for your business to claim this money back.

A guide to SSP for employers.

3. Locum GP’s. Guidance from the National Association of Sessional General Practitioners states that you need to ascertain what your employment status is whilst contracting. Again, if you are classed as an individual are employed through your contract, then you are entitled to SSP. If however, you are working a contract to your own terms and conditions, you may not be covered.

4. Possible ways to mitigate any risk might be to take out Income Protection Insurance policies. Please use your own judgement and get professional advice from either the professional body that represents your profession, your accountant or financial adviser.

The most important factor when looking at SSP is to clearly understand your employment status when in a contract, mitigate any potential risk the best you can by either protecting yourself through insurance or working for Umbrella companies or Agencies.

If you have any questions, we can try and help as best we can and introduce you to the financial and insurance professionals who have the knowledge and accreditations to help you navigate this sensitive topic.