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Home > News > Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency employment bill

Coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency employment bill

23 March 2020 | Cecily Donoghue

The government has announced emergency legislative measures for employers amid the global pandemic. The Employment Bill was set out on 20 March 2020, to be time limited for two years. Not all measures will come into force immediately but as and when required.

Specialist employment lawyer, Cecily Donoghue looks at the key elements of the bill and what it means for employers:

Emergency volunteer leave

Employees and workers will be able to take emergency volunteer leave in blocks of two, three or four weeks’ statutory unpaid leave. A compensation fund will be established to compensate for loss of earnings and expenses incurred at a flat rate for those who volunteer through an appropriate authority.

Statutory sick pay

The government will temporarily suspend the rule that means SSP is not payable for the first 3 days of sickness absence. This provision will have retrospective effect from 13 March 2020. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim SSP paid in respect of the first 14 days of sickness absence related to coronavirus.

Tribunal proceedings

Video and audio links in courts proceedings will be expanded. From Monday 23 March 2020, all in-person hearings will be converted to a case management hearing by telephone or other electronic methods.


If you would like to discuss the implications of the emergency employment bill on your workforce and find out where you stand legally, contact our specialist employment solicitors by calling 0117 906 9400 or email

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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