Government scraps special Covid paid leave for NHS employees

33% of employers have reviewed their sick pay policy due to Covid-19The government has ended the provision of special paid leave for sickness and isolation related to Covid-19 (Coronavirus) for NHS staff in England as of 7 July 2022.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) introduced temporary non-contractual Covid-19 sick leave guidance at the start of the pandemic, to ensure staff received full pay if they needed to self-isolate.

Those following the guidance have been paying staff in full, no matter the length of absence or how long they have been in their role, while contractual absence management processes have been paused for those who have tested positive for Covid-19.

By 1 September, all NHS staff in England will return to their pre-Covid contract terms and conditions for sick pay, with the NHS Staff Council set to publish guidance to help employers and staff manage this process. NHS England and Improvement, which is responsible for policies on staff isolation and is informed by guidance on managing infection control and testing, will produce updated guidelines.

All staff sickness periods which have been treated as Covid-19 sickness, and have therefore not been counted towards normal absence in relation to pay and illness absence triggers, will retain that status until 1 September 2022. Normal contractual terms and conditions for sickness provide up to six months of full pay and six months of half pay depending on how long an employee has been in their role.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “As we learn to live with Covid, we are withdrawing the temporary NHS staff sickness guidance that was put in place at the height of the pandemic, as part of plans to move back to the normal arrangements set out in the NHS terms and conditions. This provides generous support for NHS staff with up to six months full pay and six months half pay, depending on length of service.”