Reclaiming statutory sick pay
Under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, small-and medium-sized businesses and employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The online service to reclaim SSP is not available yet. HMRC will announce when the service is launched.
The scheme covers up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. Employers are eligible for the scheme if their business is UK based, small or medium-sized and employed fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020. Employers must also have had a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020. A claim can be made for employees that had / have Coronavirus, cannot work because they are self-isolating at home or are shielding in line with public health guidance.
Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of Coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can also request a note from the NHS website.
HMRC’s guidance has been updated with information relating to the EU Commission temporary framework. Claim amounts should not be above the maximum €800,000 of state aid under this framework.
Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay
Concerns continue to grow regarding absences from work during the Coronavirus pandemic. Virus counter-measures requires a significant number of employees having to self-isolate if they are feeling sick or who have returned from other affected areas worldwide.
To help support small and medium sized businesses, the government has announced that these employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for eligible employees who have been off work because of the Coronavirus. The plans were announced as part of the Budget measures to help support businesses and individuals with the economic disruption caused by the outbreak.
To cope with this change, the government will need to set-up a repayment mechanism for affected employers as existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.
The main eligibility criteria of the scheme are as follows:
- This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
- Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
- Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
- Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
- The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators, comes into force.
The Chancellor also hinted that there would be further support for incomes and jobs when he announced additional support to protect businesses on 17 March 2020. We will of course keep you informed of any further changes.