NFU Scotland | /general-information-for-employers.aspx

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General Information for Employers


I employ people, what should I be doing?

On Monday 23 March, the UK and Scottish Government called on all workers who can work from home, to do so. Where working from home is impossible, employers are being asked to truly consider whether staff are required and what processes can be introduced to make them as safe as possible.

  • Information from the Scottish Government about returning to work safely is available here


Is there any guidance about how to make decisions regarding my employees?

NFUS affiliate members Greenburn have developed a COVID-19 employer roadmap to support employers in making human resource decisions in response to COVID-19.

Greenburn COVID-19 Employer Roadmap is available to NFUS members here

I employ people, what should I be doing?

Where can I find the latest health and safety guidance?

Sector specific guidance includes:

General guidance includes:

  • Scottish Government advice for employers in Scotland is available here
  • Scottish Government social distancing guidance is available here
  • UK Government advise about working safely during COVID-19 is available here
  • HSE have website page dedicated to Coronavirus advice and information, available here
  • HSE have produced specific guidance for employers about working safely during the Coronavirus outbreak, available here
  • Information from ACAS about working safely during Coronavirus is available here

Please note UK-wide guidance should be used in conjunction with guidance from the Scottish Government.


I have asked my employee to stay away from work, what should I be doing?

If you have asked your employee to stay away from work, for example because they have returned from an affected area, they will be entitled to their usual pay unless there is an express contractual right to suspend without pay in these circumstances.

I have a worker who has self-isolated, what should I be doing?

In response to the coronavirus outbreak, new Regulations known as The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 came into force on 13 March and will remain in place for 8 months.
These changes alter the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 and means employees who have self-isolated in accordance to guidance published by the Public Health Bodies in Great Britain and are unable to work will be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

This means that SSP is extended to employees who are self-isolating with a symptom of COVID-19 for 7 days in accordance with Public Health Advice.

I have an employee who is self-isolating, how does this fit with the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Order?

The Scottish Agricultural Wages Board have advised that an employer has some discretion in terms of whether to pay Scottish Agricultural Sick Pay if the employee is not actually unwell.

If the worker is not unwell but has been told to self-isolate in accordance with government guidance, then they are still entitled to SSP.

If the worker has no symptoms, are genuinely well and have not been told of any reason why they would have to self-isolate (for example by NHS 24) then the situation must be considered on a case by case basis whether it is appropriate to pay the employee sick pay or not.

It is vital that the first port of call should be to have a conversation with your employee and seek legal advice if you are unsure about how to proceed.

I have an employee who is absent from work because they have contracted COVID-19, what should I do?

As per any other illness, Scottish agricultural workers are entitled to Agricultural Sick Pay (ASP) through the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Order. Workers must qualify for ASP and it is not paid for the first three days of absence. It is vital to keep up to date with information from the UK and Scottish Governments regarding when it is safe for your employee to come back to work and seek medical recommendations from NHS 24 or your employees’ GP.

More information:

  • For more information regarding ASP, please refer to the Agricultural Wages (Scotland) Order (no.67) 2020, available here
  • If you have any questions regarding Agricultural Wages Order, contact the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (see key contacts).


What can I do if an employee needs time off work to look after a dependent?


The UK Government states employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them in case of an emergency. This applies to situations related to COVID-19.

  • Information from ACAS about taking time off to help someone else is available here


Where can I find out about expenses and benefits provided to employees during Coronavirus?

You may be providing different benefits or covering different expenses for staff in response to COVID-19. HMRC have compiled guidance about taxable expenses and benefits paid to employees and how to report them to HMRC, available here.

Please note that the guidance only relates to Income Tax treatment, National insurance contributions may vary on the individual benefit or expense. More information is about National Insurance is available here.

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