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Shielding and support for you

We're here for you if you want to talk?

0808 2080 888

[email protected]

Work and money worries

This page includes information about where to go for advice and support if coronavirus has affected your work or income.

We've included some key things to know about work and money below. But if you have concerns about your employment rights or finances, you should seek expert advice from ACAS (Helpline: 0300 123 1100).


Last updated: 20 May 2020

If you are normally entitled in your contract to Statutory Sick Pay, and you are off sick or self-isolating due to coronavirus in your household, you should get sick pay from the first day of absence. If your employer needs proof, you can get a self-isolation note from the NHS.

If you are shielding because you are at high risk from coronavirus, you can also get Statutory Sick Pay.

If you are on a zero hours contract, and are off sick or self-isolating due to coronavirus symptoms in your household, you may still be entitled to sick pay if you have done some work for the company. Check your eligibility.

If you're a contractor, freelancer or similar (in gig-economy work), and are off sick or self-isolating due to coronavirus symptoms in your household, then speak to your current company - some are offering sick pay or compensation.

See the government advice for employees.

If your place of work has shut down or there’s no work for you because of coronavirus, you can carry on getting paid.

The government is allowing employers to claim up to 80% of their workers’ wages, up to £2,500 per month per worker, so they can continue to pay workers. This is called furloughing.

This includes full-time, part-time, agency contract and freelance or zero-hour contract employees.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If being furloughed reduces your salary to a low amount, you may also be able to claim financial support through Universal Credit.

The government has said everyone should work from home if they can. People should only be asked to go to work if their work can ‘absolutely not be done from home’.

If your usual work cannot be done from home, your employer may be able to adjust your role, to something that can be done from home. Talk to your employer about this, telling them you are keen to continue working but have been advised by the government to shield and stay at home until at least the end of June.

Cancer is classed as a disability under the Equality Act and the Disability Discrimination Act. This means that employers must make reasonable adjustments to allow you to do your job. This includes adjustments that protect your health, such as allowing you to work from home.

If your employer can’t reasonably support you to work from home, and therefore you are not working, you can still be paid if you have been advised by the government to shield and stay at home until at least the end of June.

The government is allowing employers to claim up to 80% of workers’ wages. This is called furloughing. A furloughed worker is someone who cannot work because of coronavirus. Employers can claim up to £2,500 per month per worker, so they can continue to pay workers. If you have been advised by the government to shield at home, you count as a ‘furloughed’ worker. Full-time, part-time, agency contract and freelance or zero-hour contract employees can all be claimed for.

Find out more about the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

As someone shielding, you may also eligible for Statutory Sick Pay, or Universal Credit (if your income has been reduced to a low amount).

When employers are making decisions about who to offer ‘furlough’ to, equality and discrimination laws will apply in the usual way.

If you are still being asked to go to work, but you believe you’re at a high risk, tell your employer that you need to follow government advice to stay at home. You are protected by law against unfair treatment and dismissal due to a health condition. If your employer puts unreasonable pressure on you to attend work, or unreasonably disciplines you for not attending work, this may be unlawful discrimination. If you are concerned about this, seek advice from ACAS (Helpline: 0300 123 1100).

The government has launched an income support scheme for self-employed people. This will allow you to claim a grant worth 80% of your average trading profits over in 3 months, up to a maximum of £7,500. This is a single grant payment. This is a temporary scheme, but it may be extended.

Find out more about the self-employed income support scheme and other support for the self-employed.

If you're on a low income, you may also be able to claim Universal Credit.

Whether you’re currently in or out of work, if you’re on a low income and affected by the economic impact of coronavirus, you may be able to claim other benefits like Universal Credit or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).

If you claim Universal Credit, the rules around minimum income will be relaxed for the duration of the outbreak of coronavirus.

If you claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), you will be able to claim from day one, instead of day eight.

There are charities that offer grants to people with blood cancer:

If you're worried about the impact of coronavirus on your finances, speak to your landlord, bank and utility bill companies - some are offering support to their customers during this time.

Contact your local Citizens Advice to find out about benefits and other forms of support you may be eligible for.

Tell us about your experience

You can help improve support for people with blood cancer by completing our impact of coronavirus survey. The results will help us understand the impact on people with blood cancer and help us support clinicians and the NHS.

Keep updated about coronavirus and blood cancer

Join our mailing list for key updates about coronavirus for people with blood cancer, what we're doing to help, and ways you can help, including campaigns you may be interested in.

Support for you

Call our free and confidential helpline on 0808 2080 888 from Monday to Friday, 10am to 7pm, and Saturday to Sunday, 10am to 1pm.

We are currently receiving a very high volume of calls related to coronavirus, so if you're not able to get through straight away, please leave a message and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.

You can also email us if you prefer to get in contact that way. We'll usually get back to you within two working days, but due to the current rate of calls and emails we are currently receiving it may take us longer.

Talk to other people with blood cancer on our Online Community Forum – there is a group for coronavirus questions and support.

The following companies have provided funding for our coronavirus support, but have had no further input: AbbVie, AstraZeneca, Celgene, Gilead, Incyte, Kyowa Kirin, Novartis, Pfizer, Sanofi, Takeda.