Coronavirus SSP cover extended again
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for coronavirus suffers has been a developing story, with announcements made followed by new legislation in a pattern that is repeated every few weeks.
As of 1 June 2020, this is where we are:
The reclaims portal
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (CSSPRS) allows eligible employers to reclaim up to 14 days SSP which has been paid to employees in the following circumstances:
- absence through Covid-19 related sickness or self-isolation starting on or after 13 March 2020
- absence through Covid-19 related shielding, following public health advice and where the employee is in receipt of a letter from the GP or the NHS
This scheme works courtesy of the Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) Regulations 2020 and the Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2020 which came into force on 26 May 2020.
The SSP reclaims portal opened on 26 May 2020 and the following guidance and links provide more information:
- Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19)
- How to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
- How to claim (via the Government Gateway)
Reclaim payments under the CSSPRS scheme are considered state aid under the EU’s Temporary Framework and reclaims will generate a statement as part of the claims summary. This statement needs to be kept until 31 December 2024. The CSSPRS is a time-limited scheme and claims cannot be made more than one year from the last qualifying day in the period of incapacity for work or 26 May 2020, whichever is the latter.
Test and Trace
To be eligible for SSP, an individual has to be incapable of work under their contract of employment. This is generally through sickness. However, various SSP (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations have added to the list of people that are deemed to be incapable of working. This is where the absence is not though sickness but is through self-isolation and/or shielding. These individuals are also entitled to be considered for SSP payment.
In the UK, the four nations will be introducing ‘track and trace’ procedures at different times. Employers operating UK-wide need to be careful with this name, as the same basic scheme is called named differently depending on which nation of the UK you are in:
- In England, it is called ‘NHS Test and Trace’
- In Wales, it is called ‘Test, Trace, Protect’
- In Scotland, it is called ‘Test and Protect’
- In Northern Ireland, it is called ‘Test, Trace and Protect’
All of these schemes are designed to contain the spread of Covid-19 by identifying the source (via a test) and tracing down the people they may have been in contact with.
Individuals who have been traced will then be asked to self-isolate for a period of time via a ‘relevant notification’. The sources of this relevant notification vary depending on which of the nations the person is traced. For example, in England, it may be a notification from Public Health England, though in Northern Ireland it is a notification from Public Health and Social Well Being.
Employers should note that anyone who has been traced and issued with notification to self-isolate will be entitled to be considered for SSP. The following regulations bring these people into the scope of being deemed incapable of working under their contract of employment:
- The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 in Great Britain
- The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 4) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2020
These regulations have implications for individuals and employers:
- Individuals who have been ‘traced’ will be considered eligible for SSP (providing that they meet the other criterion).
- Traced individuals will not have to serve the three waiting days, if they have been traced and advised to self-isolate, meaning that the usual waiting days are ignored.
- Employers should operate SSP as normal, always remembering that the only thing that has changed is that the first three qualifying days do not have to be served as waiting days.
- Employers are able to recover SSP paid for the first 14 days. The reason for this being that the individual has been told to self-isolate, something already covered in the reclaim legislation
However, the employer can only recover the first 14 days in any one coronavirus absence. It is not possible to make a reclaim under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the SSP rebate scheme for the same employee for the same period of time.
See these articles for further information on the SSP and coronavirus:
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Ian has been in the payroll profession for over 30 years, processing payrolls from all sectors, large and small. He moved from hands-on exposure in 2011 to become involved in educating the profession. His wide-ranging experience and up-to-date knowledge ensured he was able to impart this information to UK professionals through course material...