Coronavirus Measure: Statutory Sick Pay from day one

The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced that employees will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from day one when self-isolating rather than having to wait until day four under the SSP waiting days rules.

New regulations known as The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2000 came into force on 13 March 2020. These will remain in force for a period of 8 months.

The government will bring forward legislation to allow small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  1. This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
  2. Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
  3. Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
  4. Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
  5. The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators comes into force.
  6. The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible. Existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.

Updating Parliament on the Government’s response to the virus last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told MPs:

“I can today announce that the Health Secretary will bring forward, as part of our emergency legislation measures, to allow the payment of Statutory Sick Pay from the very first day you are sick instead of four days under the current rules. No one should be penalised for doing the right thing.

Coronavirus and the Budget 2020

Speaking to the BBC this week, ahead of his first budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the government was looking at “a range of scenarios” and making sure it was well prepared for all of them, adding that the NHS would get “all the support it needs to get through this“. Mr Sunak added that he was looking at “options to provide temporary support to small businesses“.

Guidance to assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on the coronavirus can be found here

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