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Covid SSP rebate scheme closes with tight deadline

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The closure of the statutory sick pay rebate scheme on 17 March 2022 will be bad news for employers with monthly payrolls, since SSP can only be reclaimed if it has been paid. 

23rd Feb 2022
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HMRC announced today that the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rebate scheme will close 17 March 2022, and employers will have until the end of 24 March 2022 to make all reclaims.

After 24 March 2022, HMRC has confirmed that the information technology (IT) support will cease and no further claims can be made, regardless of whether they are valid or not.

So, midway through the final pay periods of the 2021/22 tax year, employers MUST be in a position to have accumulated all of their reclaim values AND have made the reclaim.  To re-iterate:

  • This is for periods of Covid-related SSP from 21 December 2021 up to and including 17 March 2022
  • Reclaimed by 24 March 2022, exactly seven days after the Schemes closure

Employers should be aware of this tight deadline. Not only does this fall in the busiest time of the year but there is also the fact that SSP can only be reclaimed once it has been paid to the employee. 

HMRC’s own guidance said that the reclaims portal will ask for the pay period end date, “because you can only claim for SSP paid in arrears”.

The closure of the SSP rebate scheme comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the end of self isolation rules in England from Thursday as part of the government's 'living with Covid' plan. 

Second SSP rebate scheme

The second Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (CSSPRS) was announced on 21 December 2021 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

This was in response to the rise of the Omicron Covid variant across the UK and part of the government’s £1bn funding supporting businesses that were most impacted.

The Legislation

The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) Regulations 2022 and The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2022 came into force on 14 January 2022, effective for Covid-related absences falling on or after 21 December 2021.

The scheme

Full details of the scheme can be found on gov.uk. However, the essential details are as follows:

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Replies (7)

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By bendybod
24th Feb 2022 11:08

So clients potentially need to pay any Covid related SSP early if their normal payroll date is the end of the month?

Thanks (0)
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By fozia
24th Feb 2022 11:09

Thank you for the article. I was thoroughly annoyed yesterday on the announcement, especially for the reason you mentioned that the SSP should have been PAID for it to be reclaimed, and exactly how is that it supposed to be achieved for the monthly paid staff?! If an employer has a genuine claim, are we supposed to tell them to pay that as an advance (cash/BACs) and then adjust it from the final net figure processed and will that even be acceptable by HMRC. Or do we resign ourselves to the fact that all employers with monthly staff falling sick after their last payroll run (February) will just lose out. Surely HMRC should tweak the dates for submission and the clause that it should have been paid.

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ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
24th Feb 2022 11:54

My current (off-the-cuff) thinking is to submit an early RTI (eg 18th) & pay the SSP, then at the end of the month submit an amended, with the SSP treated as an advance.

Thoughts?

Thanks (0)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By Wanderer
24th Feb 2022 13:21

I'd probably just break the RTI rules. Pay it early, don't bother with RTI compliance on that early payment, then incorporate it as an advance like you say. My reasonable excuse would be that only complete numpties, with no real world business experience nor sense, could draft (HMRC) & pass (Parliament) such a bad piece of legislation.

Thanks (3)
Replying to Wanderer:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
24th Feb 2022 13:36

I’m sure I’m being OTT, but wouldn’t you leave yourself open to HMRC saying that was an advance, not the SSP payment? They’d lose at FTT, so I guess that’s irrelevant

Thanks (0)
Replying to atleastisoundknowledgable...:
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By Wanderer
24th Feb 2022 13:59

Well as for your original idea that's against HMRC advice:-
"Note: HMRC guidance says that you should never attempt to ‘resubmit’ an FPS for a pay period, as this could potentially cause problems with HMRC systems."
https://moneysoft.co.uk/support/payroll-corrections-in-the-current-tax-y...

My thought process was mainly because MoneySoft will only allow 1 RTI per month (for a monthly payroll). I suppose you could do what you say (against HMRC advice) & then refile when you have the full payroll details but then there's so much chance of that 'doubling up' by HMRC's badly programmed computers, that take years to sort out, that you'd end up regretting it.

Be difficult to argue that a bank transfer for the specific amount of the Covid SSP was anything else than a payment of Covid SSP. Maybe even put Covid SSP in the transfer details to save any stupid HMRC argument.

Thanks (2)
Replying to Wanderer:
ALISK
By atleastisoundknowledgable...
24th Feb 2022 17:19

Wanderer wrote:

Maybe even put Covid SSP in the transfer details to save any stupid HMRC argument.

Good call.

Thanks (0)