Coronavirus - Employment Advice

Many companies are finding it difficult in the current climate and some sectors are looking at laying-off staff, putting staff on short term working or paying off staff completely. Some measures to help businesses and those affected by COVID-19 have been announced .

People do still have employment rights in this difficult environment and WDCAB staff can assist if you contact us through the contact us page on our website or by telephone though we'd ask you to read the information on this page first as we are operating with very limited resources at the moment.



General Safety at Work

Whether your workplace is allowed to open will be dictated by the Scottish Government's Coronavirus (COVID19) Phases Route Map - However, even in Phase 4 of the route map it is recommended to work from home where possible.


When your job can’t be done at home, your employer should keep you safe from coronavirus. This could be by:

  • letting you travel to work at quieter times of the day
  • reducing how much face-to-face contact you have with the public
  • making sure that staff stay at least 2 metres apart in your workplace

The law in Scotland says that if businesses are open, they must:

  • take action to ensure that people stay 2 metres apart, except 2 people in the same household or a person and their carer
  • only allow small numbers of people to enter at a time
  • take action to ensure there are 2 metres between people queuing to enter


Businesses and certain services must follow physical distancing rules outlined in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020. It’s a criminal offence not to follow these rules - There’s guidance for businesses on the Scottish Government website.


Talk to your employer if you think there’s more they could do to keep you safe. Try to be constructive and explain what you need to happen so that you’ll feel safe at work


Working from home 

If you are asked to work from home there is advice and guidance on homeworking on the HSE websiteOther advice is available on homeworking on the ACAS website.

If you’re working from home you should get your normal pay from your employer.



Furlough, Lay-Offs & Short Time Working

Your employer might furlough you if they can’t pay you or if there’s no work - for example, if your place of work is closed.

Your employer might be able to use the government Coronavirus Job Retention scheme to pay you while you’re not working. However, your employer will only be able to use the scheme to pay you if either:

  • you’ve already been furloughed before 11 June 2020
  • you’re returning from maternity leave, adoption leave, paternity leave, shared parental leave or parental bereavement leave - If you’re returning from one of these types of leave, your employer must also have used the scheme to furlough other employees.

You can be furloughed full-time or part-time - For example, you could work 3 days a week and be furloughed for the other 2 days.


Information about being furloughed and what it means for you can be found on the Advice for Scotland Page.


There is a difference in law between being furloughed and being laid off - Information about short time working or being laid off can be found on the Advice for Scotland Page.

The UK government also have guidance about being laid off or put on short time working.


If you’re working from home you should get your normal pay from your employer.



It may be that an employer says they are making people redundant. Even though times are difficult, employers still have to follow a process and you should consider if your redundancy is fair.

If you have any concerns about whether your redundancy is fair or what you may be entitled to You can talk with an adviser by telephone or through the contact us page.



Self-Employment-related Issues

On the 13th of May, HMRC launched The Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS). From the 13th of July, no new applications can be made to the SEISS for help with loss of income experienced over the past three months. However, if your business is still affected by Coronavirus in August, you’ll be able to apply to the scheme again, and you’ll be able to apply even if you didn’t apply for a first payment. 

Information regarding local business support schemes and for the self-employed can be found on West Dunbartonshire Council's Website

The Scottish Government have an information site in place to provide business guidance during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis. 


If you are unable to work because you  have COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or you have been advised to self-isolate then there may be some benefits you can claim. Depending on your National Insurance contributions, you may be entitlement claim New Style- Employment & Support Allowance or Universal Credit.

Please make sure to look at our Benefits advice page.



If you are off work due to Coronavirus

Whether you are off work as you have COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or you have been advised to self-isolate, your employer should not require a fit note in order to pay you Statutory Sick Pay (provided you are eligible).

However, they may require you to provide an isolation note - NHS Inform in Scotland have a link to get an isolation note this links through to NHS111 . There are a series of questions to be answered before you can access the isolation note.

Please make sure to look at our Benefits advice page.



Time off for looking after dependents

With schools closing and dependents requiring assistance people are worried about how this will affect their employment.

The .gov website has some information about your rights to time off for family and dependents to deal with an emergency.

You may have a right to time off if care arrangements have broken down for a dependent relative or if you have been employed by your employer for a year unpaid time off to look after your child.



Using holidays

Employers have the right to tell employees and workers when to take holiday if they need to. They may do this if they have to shut the business for a week or two. Staff must be given notice of this, which  should be twice the length of the holiday duration.



Useful sites

It is not possible to give information about all employment situations at this time and we will update the information but the sites below have extensive employment information on them.

ACAS has guidance specifically regarding employment during the Coronavirus outbreak. There si information regarding working at home safely and in the workplace.


Phone advice can also be accessed through the ACAS helpline on: 0300 123 1100   Open Monday to Friday, 8am to 6pm


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