Portal now open for employers to reclaim COVID-19 related Statutory Sick Pay (“SSP”)
As part of the Government’s response to COVID-19, one of their first announcements was the ability for businesses to recover SSP for COVID-19 related absences.
The portal has now opened for businesses to reclaim COVID-19 related SSP, which can be accessed at www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-your-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19
The scheme has a number of key requirements and elements:
- The business must have fewer than 250 employees as of 28th February 2020.
- SSP will only be refunded if the absence was due to COVID-19.
- The earliest date employers can claim for is 13th March 2020
- The SSP refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee.
- The business had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation as of 28th February 2020.
There is a wider definition of who is deemed to be an eligible employee. This is because the legal definition of sickness absence for SSP purposes was expanded in light of COVID-19. As such, employees in the following situations will enable employers to reclaim SSP:
- They have symptoms of COVID-19, regardless of the severity of the symptoms, and as a result, are following Government advice to stay at home for 7 days.
- They live in the same household as someone who is self-isolating (due to point 1 above) and are therefore following Government advice to stay at home for 14 days.
- They are self-isolating (due to point 2 above) for 14 days, during which they develop symptoms of COVID-19 (as per point 1 above) and are therefore following Government advice to stay at home for 7 days after symptoms started. For example, if symptoms did not start until day 13, they would be self-isolating for a total of 20 days.
- They are defined in public health guidance as being extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 due to an underlying health condition, and have been notified that they need to follow shielding measures for a specified period.
In the same way as the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, HMRC are advising businesses to retain records for up to 3 years as part of its checks after COVID-19. In particular, employers should keep a note of the dates when an employee was off work due to sickness, the reason for the absence and the employee’s national insurance number.
You can also check out our COVID-19 Bulletins for further information about Coronavirus, Furlough Leave and how to manage your business as the country comes out of the lockdown.
Please contact us if you require any advice on any of the employment and HR issues referred to above. Please contact Sally Morris on 01905 610410 or at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any frequently asked questions.