Ruth Maguire MSP has welcomed the expansion of the Scottish Government’s expansion of the £500 Self-Isolation Support Grant to help more people who are affected by Covid-19.

The grant is being extended to include parents on low incomes whose children are asked to self-isolate as well as those who may be eligible for Universal Credit, but have not yet applied.

These changes will come into effect from December 7.

This announcement was followed by the SNP MSP for Cunninghame South asking the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon what help is available for workers who are unable to work from home should they be required to self-isolate.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, she said: “Many workers do jobs that they cannot do from home. Can I ask what resources are available to them and what responsibility employers have to support employees who are advised to self isolate but unable to work from home?”

First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “We would expect employers to be very sensitive and very responsible, and I’ve got no reason to believe that the majority are not being so. 

“Where somebody cannot work from home, what is really important is if they’ve been told to self isolate, they are not put under pressure to come into work, and where companies can continue to support them financially, they should do that. 

“One of the reasons we have put in place the Self Isolation Support Grant is to take account of circumstances in which that will not be possible, particularly for those on low incomes.

“I want to thank businesses across the country, this is an incredibly difficult time for them and the vast majority are working hard to support their employees as far as they possibly can.”

Providing further comment, Ms Maguire said: “I’d like to thank the First Minister for reiterating that workers should not be put under pressure to come into work when they are required to self isolate. If you are affected by the virus, make sure that you are aware of your rights and what support is available to you.

“The expansion of the Self Isolation Support Grant is welcome news which will reduce the number of people who feel forced to choose between keeping themselves and those around them safe, and missing out on lost income.”

Ruth’s question to the First Minister can be viewed in full below:

The Self-Isolation Support Grant provides £500 for low income workers who are in receipt of Universal Credit or other benefits and will lose earnings as a result of having to self-isolate.

Parents or carers of children under 16 who are asked to self-isolate, but who are not required to self-isolate themselves, are not currently eligible for the grant.

This is why the grant will be extended to those parents and carers, where they fulfil the other eligibility criteria:

  • employed or self-employed and unable to work from home
  • in receipt of Universal Credit or one of those which will be replaced by UC (legacy benefits.
  • facing a loss of income from looking after the child during the period of self-isolation

Only one claim per household can be made, where a parent or primary carer is required to look after a child who must isolate.