16 Mar 2020 4:27 PM

COVID-19 Statutory Sick Pay refund - support for small businesses.

In his Budget speech last week, Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced details of a temporary change to the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) system to help mitigate the financial impact of a Coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak on small businesses.

SSP is paid to employees, including casual and agency staff (self employed workers are not eligible). SSP is currently £94.25 per week and workers need to be earning £118 per week to qualify for SSP payment.

The changes for employees:

Workers who have been advised to self isolate, even if they do not have any symptoms, will be eligible for SSP.

SSP will be payable from the first day of absence from work, instead of day four (as it was previously)

If evidence of COVID-19 is required by employers, a fit note can be obtained by contacting NHS111 rather than visiting a GP.  Further details to be released on how this will work.

The changes for employers:

Employers with fewer than 250 employees (as at 28 February 2020) will be eligible for a refund of up to 14 days SSP per employee who has claimed SSP as a result of COVID-19.

Employers should keep a record of staff absences.

It will not be necessary for employees to produce a fit note.  The alternative arrangement under NHS111 will suffice.

The date for eligible claims will be the day on which the new SSP extension regulations come into force.

A mechanism to facilitate the repayment of SSP to eligible businesses will be set up by the Government over the coming months.

HMRC have set up a dedicated area on its website of support for those affected by COVID-19. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19/support-for-those-affected-by-covid-19#to-support-businesses-experiencing-increases-in-costs-or-financial-disruptions

Please contact us if you require any assistance or have any questions.

For more information relating to COVID-19, please view our COVID-19. Information Quick Find page