Coronavirus SSP Changes for Employers

 

Due to the Coronavirus outbreak the government has released new guidance in relation to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for employees.

 

Guidance for those employees paid over £118 per week

The government have advised that all employees who qualify for SSP (earn £118 per week or more)  are eligible to SSP from day one of absence, if they fall into the following criteria:-

  • Employees who have the virus
  • Those that are self-isolating if a household member has the virus (they may not be sick however are unable to work due to the government advise on isolation)

Other than the above the government has advised that employers use their own discretion to respect a medical need to isolate. Government rules also state that there is no need for employees to provide a medical fit note for these absences.

It should be noted then that simple self-isolation does not satisfy the criteria to claim SSP in the current situation.

The weekly rates of SSP are as follows:-

Up to 5 April 2020            £94.25

From 6 April 2020             £95.85

In ordinary circumstances employers are not able to claim back SSP for employees in cash.  (In ordinary circumstances an employer would apply the SSP as a credit against other deductions due to be paid over.  The government have confirmed that they will be now issuing SSP refunds to cover two weeks SSP payments, for those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. Minimum term for isolation is currently at 14 days (as at 19/03/20).

The refund is only available for small to medium employers only who had 250 employees or less as of 28 February 2020.

Currently there has not been any advice on how this refund is claimed but we have been advised that the government are working on this and further guidance should be available as soon as possible. 

 

Guidance for those employees paid under £118 per week

There are some employers that have employees paid under the eligibility threshold for SSP. These employees are those that earn under £118 per week. If employees work irregular hours then there weekly pay is looked at over an 8 week average. For those that are under the eligibility threshold they will not be able to be paid SSP via the payroll, however, they may be able to apply for universal credit during their absence, further details on this can be found in this link:-

                https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit

Any employees who are already claiming Universal Credit should be covered as the system is designed to kick in based on earning levels.

 

For further guidance on SSP relating to coronavirus please visit the following links;

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-coronavirus-covid-19

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses