It is rather timely that we are talking about the implications of a self-employed courier driver being unable to work due to illness in view of the current coronavirus epidemic that is gaining momentum in many countries around the world including here in the UK.

There is an awful lot of information in the press about coronavirus including about statutory sick pay for those people who are employed but, in a nutshell, if you are self-employed you are not entitled to statutory sick pay if you are unable to work due to being ill. However, the self-employed can claim Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) which, following an announcement in today’s Budget, can be claimed from day one of when you are ill rather than day eight. Self-employed people under 25 years of age can claim £57.90 per week and those over 25 can claim £73.10 per week.

There are likely to be thousands of self-employed couriers in the UK who are not going to want to have to give up work for a couple of weeks and spend that period in isolation whilst he or she recovers from the above virus. There will probably be some who get the virus but against medical advice continue working as they need to generate sufficient income to pay for the household bills such as the mortgage, rent, utility bills, food etc.

Couriers, by the very nature of their work, come into direct contact with members of the public whether that is at the depot where they load their van with parcels but also when they call at peoples’ homes or business premises to deliver numerous parcels.

So, what can a courier do to reduce the possibility of getting the above virus? Well, he or she could wear disposable gloves whilst delivering parcels to customers and change them for a new pair after each drop off. They may wish to consider washing their hands frequently during the day using suitable hand cleaner. They could consider wearing a facemask.

Couriers may wish to get some independent financial advice to see if it is possible to arrange some form of income protection cover that would pay out a regular income in the event of accident or illness after a certain waiting period and for a period of time.