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Recovering the costs of Coronavirus-related SSP

The government announced several headline plans at the start of their COVID-19 response aimed at supporting small and medium-sized employers affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

This included making provision for employers with less than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of any coronavirus-related SSP payments they have made to their employees.

A new online service to claim for repayments at the relevant rate of SSP, under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will launch next week. Employers will be able to make claims from 26 May 2020. Employers are eligible for the scheme if they had a PAYE payroll scheme and less than 250 employees, on 28 February 2020.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks SSP (for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020) where an employee is unable to work because:

  • they have coronavirus;
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home;
  • are self-isolating following notification from the track and trace service that they have been in contact with someone with coronavirus (for periods of sickness starting on or after 28 May 2020); or
  • are shielding because of medical advice (for periods of sickness starting on or after 16 April 2020).

Employers will only be able to reclaim the SSP rate (currently £95.85 per week, or £94.25 per week for periods of sickness from 13 March 2020 to 5 April 2020), even if you have paid the employee enhanced sick pay for these periods. Employers cannot reclaim SSP for any employee whose sickness is not corona-virus related.

Employees do not have to provide their employer with a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim under this scheme.  However, it would be good practice for employers to ask employees to provide their ‘isolation note’ which they can apply for online where they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus. Employees must have self-isolated for at least 4 days to be eligible for SSP, however, they will receive payment for these days and there is no requirement for the usual 3 ‘waiting days’ for corona virus-related payments.

Employees who have been told to ‘shield’ by the NHS or their GP because they are at higher risk of severe illness from coronavirus should be able to provide you with a copy of their notification letter.  Employers will only be able to reclaim up to 2 weeks SSP (from 16 April 2020) for any employees who are shielding. Employers can furlough these employees if they are unable to work from home, under the Coronavirus Job Retentions scheme. Once furloughed, their entitlement to SSP stops and they are classed as a furloughed worker.

Posted on June 2, 2020

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