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This page provides advice on work and money in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Under national restrictions you should continue to work from home where you can.

Work and pay advice

If you have to self-isolate, you may have concerns about whether you will get paid while you are away from work, and financial support if your work ends.

Ask your employer about their policies on pay and holiday pay if your workplace closes or if you are unable to work due to childcare responsibilities when schools close. There is no legal right to pay in these circumstances, but ACAS have provided guidance.

You may be furloughed if caring responsibilities arising from Coronavirus mean:

  • you are unable to work or
  • working reduced hours.

This includes caring for children who are at home as a result of school or childcare facilities closing.  Ask your employer about being furloughed under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

If you are a member of a trade union, they can advise you on your rights at work. If not, visit Citizens Advice onlineAdvice Portsmouth may be able to help – ring 023 92794 340, text 07789 550593, email advice.portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk or contact via Facebook

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (known as Furlough)

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended until 30 September 2021. Read information about the support available for employees through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Self-Employment Income Support Scheme

If you are self-employed and your business has been impacted by coronavirus, read information about the support available and how to make a claim

Redundancy

If you are being made redundant, find out about your rights and the help available to find a new job.  Specialist help is available before you are made redundant, and for up to 13 weeks after redundancy.

Building new skills

The Skills Toolkit provides free digital and numeracy courses to help you build and develop new valuable skills and improve your employability.

Apprenticeships

Guidance for apprentices and employers about changes to apprenticeships due to coronavirus.

Find more financial advice and support 

There is further financial advice and support available in the following places:

  • Advice Portsmouth offers free, confidential advice on bills, benefits, debt and employment call 023 9279 4340, text 07789 550593 or email advice.portsmouth@theyoutrust.org.uk.
  • Citizens Advice Portsmouth can help you check you’re receiving all the benefits you’re entitled to, call 0800 144 8 444 or use the online webchat. You can also use the free online benefits calculators at turn2us.org.uk
  • Portsmouth City Council tenants can get money advice through the housing office. If you are a housing association tenant, your housing officer may be able to help.
  • HIVE Portsmouth can connect you with the help you need – from support with food or school uniform, to mental health support or legal advice.
  • There is support available to students who are self-isolating through the University of Portsmouth.

Help with food and bills

If you’re struggling to pay for food and other essentials or are in urgent need of financial help, local support is available:

Scam advice

There have sadly been reports in the UK of people using coronavirus to carry out scams. Anyone who has been a victim of fraud or cybercrime can report it online at Action Fraud or call 0300 123 2040.

Some of the recently reported scams involve people receiving a text saying they need to book a Covid-19 vaccination appointment and it takes them to a fake NHS form which then asks for their bank details to prove their identity. Or they’re asked to press a number on their keypad or to send a text message to confirm they wish to receive the vaccine. This results in a charge being applied to their phone bill.
There have also been scams involving the NHS Test and Trace service advising that you’ve been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and need to have a test. They say that they need your card details as you have to pay for the test. This is not true.

The vaccine and NHS tests for coronavirus are free. If you get a genuine email, text or call from the NHS regarding the vaccination or Test and Trace service they will never ask you to pay for a test or for your bank/card details.

The following types of scam have also been reported, which fraudsters use to access your personal information such as passwords or bank details:

  • Doorstep scams – scammers may claim that they will help with shopping, collecting medication or cleaning drives to kill bacteria. They will then take people’s money or credit card and leave without providing the service.
  • Online scams – some emails or text messages pretend to link to important information about coronavirus or useful online resources. When clicking on these links, a virus is downloaded and installed, and gives scammers full access to your data. There have been reports of messages going round that claim to be from the government or the NHS; if the links in the message don’t end in ‘ gov.uk‘ or ‘ nhs.net‘, don’t click on the links. Online scams can also take place on social media or messaging apps, such as Whatsapp.
  • HMRC scams – now that financial support schemes are available from the government, people may start to receive scam emails, calls and text messages claiming to be from HMRC. Messages may offer financial help in exchange for personal information such as your bank details. These messages will be scams. Don’t respond, and delete the message immediately. HMRC does not ask for personal information in this way.
  • Refund scams – scammers are targeting people who have had to cancel their holidays, and offer them fake holiday refunds.
  • Counterfeit scams – some online companies are selling fake and possibly unsafe sanitizers, face masks and swab kits.
  • Telephone scams – you may receive phone calls from scammers who claim to be your bank, mortgage lender or utility company.
  • Donation scams – there have been reports of scammers claiming to be collecting donations for a coronavirus vaccine
  • Business scams – Businesses are being targeted by scammers who claim to be offering tax refunds or coronavirus relief, or demanding details for Companies House. As a precaution, avoid clicking links in emails that don’t call you by your name, have poor English, are from businesses that you’re not expecting to be hearing from, or ask you to download any files.
    • There have also been some reports of scammers sending letters reportedly from a government department to businesses telling them that, by law, they need to purchase air purifiers to comply with coronavirus regulations rules. This is not true. If you receive a letter, you can report it online at Action Fraud or by calling 0300 123 2040.
  • School meals scam – We have been informed that some parents have received an email asking for bank details for free school meals. This is a scam email and is not official. If you receive any emails like this, please don’t respond and delete it immediately.
  • DVLA scams – some people have received messages asking them to click on a link to claim back overpayments on vehicle tax.

For more advice on avoiding scams, take a look at:

You can also sign up to receive Hampshire Alert notifications here.

Be aware of people offering or selling
  • Vaccines or miracle cures – only the NHS are currently offering the vaccine
  • Virus testing kits – these should only be offered by the NHS
  • Vaccines or miracle cures – there is currently no vaccine or cure for coronavirus
  • Overpriced items to protect yourself from coronavirus, such as anti-bacterial products
  • Shopping
  • Medication collection services
  • Home cleaning services
Protect yourself and others
  • Don’t be rushed into making a decision. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Take a moment to think before giving away personal information or money.
  • Don’t click on a link or file unless you’re 100% sure of what it is and where it came from. If it doesn’t end in ‘ gov.uk‘ or ‘ nhs.net‘, it’s not from the government or the NHS.
  • Don’t assume that everyone is genuine. It’s okay to say no or ignore requests if you’re not sure. Only criminals will try to rush or scare you.
  • If someone claims to be from a charity, ask them for ID.
  • Be suspicious if people ask you to give them money before they deliver the service they’re offering. If you’re not sure, check with family or friends.

Victim Care Service

The Victim Care Service has launched a new website to ensure anyone affected by crime in Portsmouth and the rest of Hampshire can access support and advice.

The website offers tips on how to protect yourself from different types of crime and advice on what to do if you experience them. The service provides support for victims and witnesses of crime to cope with, and recover from, the harmful effects of the crime they have experienced.

The Victim Care Service is open to all victims, no matter what the type of crime, regardless of whether the crime has been reported to the police or not, and no matter how recently or how long ago the crime took place.

NHS self-isolation advice

The NHS has created an online isolation note service if you need to provide evidence to your employer that you need to be off work due to coronavirus.

This service is for people who:

  • have symptoms of coronavirus and have used the 111 online coronavirus service
  • have been told by a healthcare professional they have symptoms of coronavirus
  • live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus

If you are not sure if you need to stay at home, get the latest NHS advice on coronavirus.

If you have to stay at home but feel well enough to work, ask your employer if you can work from home. If you can work from home, you will not need an isolation note.

You can also use this service for someone else.

Visit the NHS isolation note online service

Financial support

If you are receiving:

  • working or child tax credits,
  • housing benefit or
  • council tax support

and you have changes to your income or other circumstances, you should notify tax credits, and notify housing benefit and council tax support.

If you are claiming Universal Credit, changes to your earned income will automatically update your monthly assessment, but if you are self-employed you must continue to provide details of your income each month.

If your employment or self-employment ends, but you have paid national insurance contributions, you may be entitled to claim contribution-based benefits:

If you don’t qualify for contribution-based benefits, you may be eligible for Universal Credit. If you need help to pay your rent and you are not already claiming housing benefit, or if you own your own home and need help with mortgage interest costs, you may also be eligible to claim Universal Credit.

If you claim Universal Credit, other benefits you are receiving may be cancelled, so for independent advice on whether to make a claim, contact the Citizens Advice Help To Claim service, online or by phone.

Jobcentres (including Portsmouth and Cosham) remain open for anyone who is not able to use the phone or online channels.

Food banks

Foodbanks provide around 3 days food for your whole household if you can’t afford to buy food.  Some foodbanks need a referral, and some can help you without being referred.

Find more information and details about food banks and takeaway services for people in need on our dedicated page.

Energy advice

The Switched On Portsmouth team are available to provide energy advice to all Portsmouth residents. This includes simple tips and tricks to reduce your home energy consumption and bills, advice on installing new measures to improve your home (heating systems, solar PV or insulation), and access to financial support.

Use the Freephone number 0800 260 5907 or visit the Switched On Portsmouth website for more information.