Employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them (a ‘dependant’) in an unexpected event or emergency. This could apply to situations to do with COVID-19.
A dependant does not necessarily live with the person, for example they could be an elderly neighbour or relative who relies on your employee for help.
There’s no statutory right to pay for this time off, but some employers might offer pay depending on the contract or any policies they may have in place.
The amount of time off an employee takes to look after someone must be reasonable for the situation. For example, they might take 2 days off to start with, and if more time is needed, they can book paid holiday (‘annual leave’).
If an employee needs to self-isolate because a dependant has COVID-19 symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19, the employee should receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as a minimum for this time off, which can of course be reclaimed as the employer.