What is an employee’s right to pay?
Consideration would need to be given to the written terms in the relevant contract of employment. If the employee is not unfit to work, then it is unlikely that they are entitled to statutory sick pay. Statutory sick pay, defines a day of incapacity as:
“A day on which the employee concerned is, or is deemed in accordance with regulations to be, incapable by reason of some specific disease or bodily or mental disablement of doing work which he can reasonably be expected to do under that contract”.
When an employee is not actually incapable of working, at the time they are suspended, then their absence is not likely to be sickness absence, which means they are not able to claim statutory sick pay. The position would be different it the employee was diagnosed with coronavirus or became too unwell to work. If the employer is suspending the employee on health and safety grounds due to the risk of infection (or infecting other), then the employee will normally have the right to continue to receive their full pay.
This would only be different if there was a contractual provision in the employee’s contract to the contrary. As set out above, an employer is not obliged to provide the employee with work, provided it continues to pay the full salary. The employer could ask the employee to work from home unless they are too ill to work at all. The duty to pay employees, as above, means there is an implied term that where an employee is able and willing to perform their duties in accordance with their contract, the employer has a requirement to pay that employee’s salary. The only exception is if there is a contractual right not to pay.