The topic of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees who are sick or in self-isolation is still a hot topic for employers. This is mostly due to the raft of information and misinformation being circulated. With this in mind, we wanted to put together the key points of the current legislation for employers with staff claiming SSP.
Advice About Self Isolating
On the 12th of March 2020 Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland, Public Health Wales, the Regional Agency for Public Health and Social Well-being in Northern Ireland on 12 March 2020 made an announcement which stated that anyone displaying symptoms of Coronavirus should self-isolate for seven days from the day their symptoms start. Additionally, if someone you live with develops symptoms the entire household needs to isolate for a further 14 days.
This statement provoked an announcement regarding changes to statutory sick pay requirements.
The Original Announcement About Statutory Sick Pay
In March the Prime Minister’s announced under the Coronavirus Act 2020, SSP would temporarily be paid from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth day.
This measure applied to people who had been told to self-isolate due to Coronavirus symptoms. It also applied to those caring for people within their household who were displaying COVID-19 symptoms and had been advised to self-isolate.
Even though the announcement and Coronavirus Act 2020 enabled these changes to happen new legislation is needed to put the changes into practice.
Two new sets of regulations came into force on the 13th of March 2020.
- The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020
- The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020
These regulations opened up the Statutory Sick Pay system to allow employees who are isolating themselves from others (in accordance with advice on COVID-19 deeming them unable to work) to access SSP.
The fundamental regulations of SSP haven’t changed they have simply been adapted to allow people self-isolating due to Coronavirus symptoms to receive SSP.
The government have also announced that some businesses will also be able to claim back SSP paid to their employees via The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay or have already paid to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.
This scheme is NOT OPEN yet, however, HMRC will announce when the online service is available.
Who Can Claim
In order to claim the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, your company must be:
- Claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
- Have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
- Had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:
- full-time employees
- part-time employees
- employees on agency contracts
- employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
Your claim cannot be over €800,000 of state aid under the EU Commission temporary framework. (This is when combined with other aid received under the framework. There is a lower maximum for agriculture at €100,000 and aquaculture and fisheries at €120,000.
Connected Companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees are fewer than 250 on or before 28 February 2020.
What You Can Claim
The rebate scheme will cover SSP paid to employees up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness absence if an employee is unable to work because they either:
- have coronavirus
- cannot work because they are self-isolating at home
- are shielding in line with public health guidance
Employees do not have to produce a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.
Employers who pay more than the current rate of SSP are only able to claim the current rate amount.
What You Need To Do
To claim under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme you must keep records of all the statutory sick payments that you want to claim from HMRC, including:
- the reason why an employee could not work
- details of each period when an employee could not work, including start and end dates
- details of the SSP qualifying days when an employee could not work
- National Insurance numbers of all employees who you have paid SSP to
You’ll have to keep these records for at least 3 years following your claim.
- SSP is available to employees that are self-isolating due to Coronavirus symptoms, caring for a member of their household who is self-isolating due to Coronavirus symptoms or shielding in line with public health guidance.
- SSP is now payable from the first day of Coronavirus related sickness absence rather than from the fourth day under the Coronavirus Act 2020.
- Some companies can claim back SSP paid to employees under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
Here To Help
If you have any further enquiries about SSP and your business or you need advice on other matters relating to Coronavirus business support you can find our business support page here.