With news of the global epidemic Coronavirus making the headlines daily, Ian Sawyer, Commercial Director at life and health intermediary www.assuredfutures.co.uk has outlined the different scenarios British employees could face should the disease become as prevalent here as it has done in China and surrounding areas.
How you would theoretically cover the cost of bills, mortgage payments and monthly expenses might be the last thing on your mind at present; but should you be struck down by a sudden or unexpected illness in the near future, it’s important to plan for the worst-case scenario, whilst of course hoping for the best.
Latest UK government updates on known cases, plus advice, here.
British employees may be wondering how a potential influx of coronavirus cases to the UK might affect their income, so we’ve tackled some of the most common queries being made surrounding the health crisis below:
What would catching the illness mean for my income?
First and foremost – unless you have the capacity to work solely from home in a quarantined room – an illness as serious as this would mean needing to take a prolonged period off of work, to ensure that it doesn’t spread to your co-workers or those you come into contact with in your day-to-day role. This would mean a significant drop in income after 3 initial days to statutory sick pay.
Once entering the system, the virus likely takes around 5-6 days to show symptoms, and it’s tricky to determine just how long one is contagious for, as well as the effect that the virus is likely to have to your general health following treatment.
Here are a few questions that would be important to ask yourself from a financial point of view, were you to be struck down with an illness like Coronavirus:
– Will I be able to afford to pay my core bills and outgoings on reduced pay?
– Does my company/employer offer sick pay?
– Do I have emergency ‘rainy day’ savings to tide me over during a period of sickness?
– Will investing in an income protection policy provide me with peace of mind in the event of a medical accident or period of sickness?
What am I legally entitled to claim if I catch Coronavirus?
The lines are somewhat blurry when it comes to what British workers might be entitled to claim should they fall victim to Coronavirus, due to the fact that there has been no announcement from the government regarding special claims that could help benefit sufferers.
As it stands, one would only be entitled to claim statutory sickness payments (£94.25 per week) which is paid for up to 28 weeks, plus any sick pay that your employer or company offers to its workers as an added incentive.
If you’re concerned about how you’d financially cope with such a little amount of monthly take-home pay, it’s recommended to investigate your personal entitlement sooner rather than later for reassurance.
What do I need to know if I travel regularly for work and Coronavirus hits the UK?
According to the Health England pages, at present there are certain strict travel regulations put in place to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus any further within the UK.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all travel to Hubei Province, as well as all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China (not including Hong Kong). A number of other countries have announced further restrictions on entry for travellers that have visited China, in order to prevent further spread of the virus, so anyone regularly visiting different countries should be aware of the rules in place in their destination.
How can I effectively plan my finances before an unexpected health crisis?
Regardless of what happens in the coming months – with the status and potential spread of Coronavirus – it’s always vital to be as prepared as possible with regards to how an income ‘shock’ is likely to affect you and your dependents. It’s also advised to understand that situations with unexpected financial circumstances can also take their toll on your mental health and have the potential to lead to anxiety and stress-related disorders.
The benefits of investing in an income protection policy – which is designed to support your income in the event of sickness, accident or unemployment – are plentiful. Should the unexpected occur, the payments can be used to pay your mortgage, rent and associated lifestyle costs during a tough time. By taking the advice of a broker, you can determine exactly how much you can cover yourself for with a tailored policy that will take into account your savings, the size of your mortgage and the rate of sick pay your current employer offers.