Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme launched

28th May 2020

UPDATED FOR THE NEW TEST AND TRACE SYSTEM LAUNCHED ON 28 MAY

Employers with fewer than 250 employees can obtain a refund from the government for the cost of providing 2 weeks of coronavirus related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) per employee.

From 26 May, a new online service for those employers is available to recover SSP payments made to their employees. 

Repayments can be claimed at the relevant rate of SSP for amounts paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was first announced at the Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Eligibility

Employers are eligible if they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020 and they had fewer than 250 employees before the same date.

The rebates will cover up to 2 weeks of SSP and is payable if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus symptoms
  • are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks

You can claim from the first qualifying day your employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 - if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • 16 April 2020 - if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus
  • 28 May 2020 - if your employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus

The current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week, although employers can pay more if they wish - but can only recalim the SSP rate.

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

Other SSP eligibility criteria apply.

Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees is fewer than 250 on or before 28 February 2020.

Employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note for their employer to make a claim under the scheme.

Test and trace

From 28 May, England has introduced a new test and trace system as a way of eradicating the coronavirus.

People who are told to isolate under the system, will be eligible for statutory sick pay if they are unable to work from home. This applies across the four nations of the UK.

The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020, have been extended accordingly.

How to claim

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE Online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf. You should speak to your agent about whether they are providing this service.

Regulations

The legislation is contained in:

  1. The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) Regulations 2020
  2. The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020

These come into force on 26 May 2020, the same day as the SSP reclaims portal opens.

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

Employers can furlough their employees under the CJRS who have been advised to shield in line with public health guidance and are unable to work from home.

Once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classified as a furloughed employee.

Where an employee has been notified to shield and has not been furloughed, the rebate will compensate up to 2 weeks of SSP from 16 April 2020.

More information about CJRS can be found in our detailed article.

Check out our Business after COVID-19: Transition Knowledge Hub for more government support.

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