In a previous Employment Law Now published on 18 March, we highlighted that, to help businesses deal with the economic impact caused by Coronavirus, employers with fewer than 250 employees will be able to reclaim SSP (up to two weeks per employee) for employees unable to work because of the pandemic. Further detail on this has now been published.
The new online service allowing employers to make claims under this scheme will be launched on 26 May 2020. Eligible employers (i.e. those who had an operating payroll scheme with fewer than 250 employees at 28 February 2020) will be able to apply to HMRC to recover up to two weeks of SSP related to coronavirus for eligible periods of sickness from 13 March 2020.
SSP can be recovered if the employee cannot work because they:
- have coronavirus symptoms;
- are self-isolating because they live with someone with symptoms and are unable to work from home; or
- are shielding on government advice.
New legislation has already removed the three day ‘waiting period’ for those with coronavirus, so employees who are eligible can receive SSP from day one, not day four.
All employees including full time, part-time and those on agency, flexible or zero-hour contracts fall within the scheme. It does not cover additional contractual sick pay and all other usual SSP eligibility criteria continue to apply. Employers are advised to keep records of their claims.