Hi all,

This is not the blog I had intended to post last minute change of plans, many of you may be aware that I have had to cancel the forthcoming free workshops in light of the current pandemic crisis, as we are now being advised that if you display any symptoms of the virus, no matter how mild you should remain at home for at least 7 days. For anyone who has been affected by Covid 19 healing wishes are sent your way, and for anyone who has suffered a loss, sincere condolences to you and your family.

It is easy to say not to panic in the current climate, but my experience recently at a local supermarket is causing me to ask what is happening to community spirit in some areas of the U.K. To see people fighting and shouting in queues arguing about who was there first, is one thing but to fight in front of children is another what is the message we are passing on to the next generation ‘everyman is now for himself’.
I observed someone in a queue in front of me with 36 packets of wet wipes, when the customer behind them has one pack. The Customer with the 36 packs then asks the customer with one pack why hadn’t they taken more packets? The selfless customer with one pack responds ‘if I take more it will leave even less for others’ the customer with 36 wipes is silent, I hope with shame. That one comment allowed people who witnessed this to begin to act, one customer offering a pack of toilet paper from their own supply to someone who had none who had earlier said that she had to purchase wet wipes as there was no more toilet paper on the shelves. Community spirit clearly exists, what I have learnt today is that it takes the action of one to become the catalyst for change in behaviour.
Please try to remember our elders and those who are vulnerable who are unable to get to the shops and who live alone, this could be a relative or just a neighbour. Give them a call and check in on them call human contact is so important at this time more than ever particularly for those who are alone.
A reminder of what symptom’s to look out for:
Corona virus
The information listed below has been lifted directly from the Government website which contains the most up to date information in relation to anyone you may be suffering or may suffer financially as a result of being unable to work if they need to self- isolate.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance

Staying at home
If you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See the stay at home guidance for more information)
My employer wants me to come to work even though I feel ill, what should I do?
Employees should take time off work if they are ill. Government is clear that employers should support their staff’s welfare, especially during an extended response.
My employer wants me to come to work. How do I respond when I don’t have a sick note?

Employees should take time off work if they’re ill.
By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness (that is, employees can self-certify). After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. To make it easier for people to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home, we are developing an alternative form of evidence to the fit note. These will shortly be available through NHS 111 online.

In the meantime, we continue to urge employers to respect the need to stay at home where they are following government advice to do so and to show flexibility in the evidence they require from employees.

Will my boss believe that I need to be at home? Will it risk my job?
Employees should take time off work if they’re ill.

By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness (employees can self-certify). After 7 days, it is for the employer to determine what evidence they require, if any, from the employee. To make it easier for people to provide evidence to their employer that they need to stay at home, we are developing an alternative form of evidence to the fit note. These will shortly be available through NHS 111 online.
In the meantime, we continue to urge employers to respect the need to stay at home where they are following government advice to do so and to show flexibility in the evidence they require from employees.

Working from home
I can’t work from home. There’s no space and the kids get in the way. Can my employer make me work from home?

You should discuss your situation with your employer. We would expect most employers and employees to reach a sensible compromise and come to a solution that best meets both parties’ needs, bearing in mind the latest public health advice.
Sick pay

Will my employer be obliged to pay me while I stay at home?

Statutory Sick Pay will be paid from day 1 instead of day 4 for those affected by corona virus.

What about if I have a zero hours contract?
You may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay. Check with your employer if you’re unsure.
If you’re not entitled to Statutory Sick Pay, you may be able to apply for Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

What about if I’m self-employed?
You can apply for Universal Credit.
What if the whole family has to stay at home and there’s no income coming in?
If no one is getting Statutory Sick Pay, the family can apply for Universal Credit

What if I get into rent arrears and my landlord wants to evict me

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/government-support-available-for-landlords-and-renters-reflecting-the-current-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak

The government has brought forward a package of measures to protect renters affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). With these in force, no renter in either social or private accommodation will be forced out of their home.

To ensure all renters are clear on the full package of support that is currently available to them, we are bringing this together into one place.
From 26 March 2020 landlords will have to give all renters 3 months’ notice if they intend to seek possession (i.e. serve notice that they want to end the tenancy) – this means the landlord can’t apply to start the court s extended buffer period will apply in law until 30 September 2020 and both the end point, and the 3 month notice period can be extended if needed.

This protection covers most tenants in the private and social rented sectors in England and Wales, and all grounds of evictions. This includes possession of tenancies in the Rent Act 1977, the Housing Act 1985, the Housing Act 1996 and the Housing Act 1988. After 3 months if the tenant has not moved a landlord needs to apply to court in order to proceed.

From the 27 March 2020 following a decision by the Master of the Rolls with the Lord Chancellor’s agreement the court service will suspend all ongoing housing possession action – this means that neither cases currently in the system or any about to go in to it can progress to the stage where someone could be evicted.
This suspension of housing possessions action will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed. This measure will protect all private and social renters, as well as those with mortgages and those with licenses covered by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. This will apply to both England and Wales.

Tenants are still liable for their rent and should pay this as usual. If they face financial hardship and struggle to pay this, support is available. In the first instance they should speak to their landlord if they think they will have difficulty meeting a rental payment, and in this unique context we would encourage tenants and landlords to work together to put in place a rent payment scheme.

However we have also put specific measures in place:
We are working with the Master of Rolls to strengthen the pre-action protocol requirement and also extend this to the private rented sector. This will help landlords and tenants to agree reasonable repayment plans where rent arrears may have arisen.
We have already made £500 million available to fund households experiencing financial hardship.

As part of the workers’ support package, the Chancellor announced the government will pay up to 80% of a worker’s wages, up to a total of £2,500 per month, where workers are placed on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Both Universal Credit and Housing Benefit will increase and from April, Local Housing Allowance rates will pay for at least 30% of market rents in each area.

Hope this information I will post additional updates in due course.  Helps and remember folks say safe!

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