Do you still get paid if your shop, pub or restaurant closes due to coronavirus?

PUB, shop and restaurant workers might be wondering what happens to their pay if their place of employment has to temporarily close due to coronavirus.

It comes as cases of coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, have jumped to 1,950 in the UK with 56 deaths reported at the time of writing.

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The latest advice from Boris Johnson saw the Prime Minister urge millions of Brits to avoid mass gatherings and stop all non-essential contact with others.

He said that means all Brits should stay out of pubs, clubs, restaurants and cinemas for up to 12 weeks – and potentially months into the summer.

The Prime Minister did not specifically say these establishments should shut – only that people should avoid them.

This puts some businesses in a tricky situation, as most won't be able to claim for loss of income on their insurance until they are officially told to close.

My place of work has closed due to coronavirus – what happens to my pay?

An employer can technically tell you not to attend work, but whether they pay you during this time depends on if you have a contract.

In most cases, if you're on a contract then you should expect to receive your usual wages, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) tells us.

However, you'll need to check if your contract contains a "lay off" clause – if it does, then your employer can tell you not to return to work without pay.

If contracts do include the right to lay off, then employees may be entitled to five days' worth of pay and could potentially claim Universal Credit.

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Contracted members of staff could also be asked to take paid holiday while their place of work is closed – but they'd need to give you enough notice.

Tom Neil, senior adviser at ACAS, added: "Typically, an employer must give at least twice as much notice as the period of leave being taken.

"So for one weeks’ annual leave, they would have to give two weeks’ notice."
Crucially, an employer shouldn't ask you to take time off unpaid if you have a contract.

If they do, ACAS advises staff to contact a union representative, HR or employment lawyer.

The main trade unions are Unite the Union, TUC, Unison and GMB – but you'll need to find out which one, if any, your employer is signed up to.

What happens if I don't have a contract?

If you’re an agency worker or on a zero hours contract, you're probably not entitled to be paid if your employer tells you not to come to work.

However, it is still worth talking to your boss or employment agency to find out what rights you do have.

Matthew Bradbury, employment expert at Citizens Advice, said: "If you’re in this situation, you should speak to your employment agency or employer and check your contract."

I'm worried about losing money – how can I prepare for time out of work?

Should you find yourself laid off from your job, or without shifts during the coronavirus outbreak, it might be time to prioritise your finances.

Gordon Andrews, Quilter financial planning expert, says the first step is to calculate your monthly outgoings including bills, rent and mortgage payments and food.

Use those calculations to work out your costs for three to four months and try to keep that much saved away.

If you don’t already have those savings in place, try to build on any cash reserves you do have, says Gordon.

He added: "This can provide a crucial buffer against a financial shock, preventing the need to turn to short term borrowing, such as credit cards, to meet day to day expenses."

We've also rounded up everything you need to know about how much statutory sick pay you can get if you're self-employed and can't work due to coronavirus.

Here's what happens to zero hours workers if they take time off due to coronavirus.

And this is what pay and time off you're entitled to as a working parent if your child’s school shuts due to coronavirus.

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