COVID-19: SSP Relaxations
To help employees and businesses manage the Coronavirus outbreak, a number of relaxations have been made to the statutory sick pay (SSP) rules. They apply from 13 March 2020. Details are on the Gov.uk website.
SSP payable from day one
Employees will be able to benefit from SSP from the first day of their absence – they will not need to serve the three waiting days before SSP can be paid.
Extension to those self-isolating
Statutory sick pay will also be available during the pandemic to those who are self-isolating, even if they are not ill themselves. This will include individuals who are self-isolating because someone in their household is showing COVID-19 symptoms.
No need for a Fit Note
Employees can self-certify absences of up to seven days. Beyond seven days, a Fit Note is normally required. To relieve pressure on GPs, employers should not ask for a Fit Note. A temporary alternative, an isolation note, can be obtained from NHS-111, but employers should exercise discretion when asking for medical evidence during the pandemic.
Small employers to be able to reclaim SSP
Normally, employers must suffer the cost of SSP paid to employees who are off sick. However, to help small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses employing fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 will be able to claim a refund of SSP paid to eligible employees who are absent from work due to COVID-19. The refund will be capped at two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee.
As currently there is no process in place for reclaiming SSP, the Government are to work with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism.
Employers should keep records of staff absences and SSP paid to support the refund claim.