Home Advice for Parents & CarersCoronavirus (COVID-19) Coronavirus (COVID-19) – What are my rights?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) – What are my rights?

Last updated 31 March 2020.


You might also want to look at our information about furlough and redundancy, our page on what financial support you might be able to claim and our page for new and expecting parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking time off work

My workplace hasn’t shut. Do I have to go in to work if I’m worried about catching coronavirus?

Am I allowed time off work if I have to care for my children (who are now off school) or someone else who depends on me?

I am a carer for someone who is considered to be in the ‘high risk’ group for coronavirus. Should I self-isolate?

What is the risk that my employer treats me as absent without authorisation?

Can I get sick pay if I’m off work?

Can my employer count my absence towards my sickness record?

Can I take or change my annual leave?

Can I carry over my annual leave into next year if I can’t take it?

What if my employer asks me to stay home? Is it a suspension? Will I be paid?


I am a key worker but I have dependants with an underlying illness who would be higher risk. Can I refuse to send them to the care schools being setting up for key workers? I want to go to work and help but my children are my priority.

If only one parent or carer is a key worker, can I send my children to school?

I’m a key worker but my child’s school/nursery has shut. What can I do about childcare?

How does the guidance on schools for children of key workers vary in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales?

Working from home

My employer has said I wouldn’t be able to work from home because I have my children at home and I’m a single parent. Can they do that?

I’m working from home but now that I have the children, I’m often interrupted and my employer insists that I either devote the whole day to work or take time off for dependants and have the day unpaid. What can I do to persuade them to let me work my hours but spread in the best possible way and with childcare interruptions allowed?


Will I be able to claim any benefits while I’m off work because of coronavirus?

This advice applies in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. If you live in another part of the UK, the law may differ. Please call our helpline for more details.

If you have further questions and would like to contact our advice team please use our advice contact form below or call us.

Please use our Advice contact form (blue button below) if you need advice.

Click this box to be taken to our separate Advice contact form