The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Scheme allows smaller employers to reclaim some or all of the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to employees who are absent from work due to a Coronavirus-related absence.
An employer is eligible to use the scheme if the employer had fewer than 250 employees across all their PAYE payroll schemes on 28 February 2020 and has paid sick pay to an employee who was absent from work as a result of a Coronavirus-related absence.
The ability to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay Scheme is not limited to that payable to employees with Coronavirus symptoms; it also applies to SSP paid to employees who are required to shield or to self-isolate as a result of Covid-19.
Reclaiming SSP related to periods of self-isolation
An employee is eligible for Statutory Sick Pay Scheme if:
- they are self-isolating because someone that they live with has Coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19;
- they have been told to isolate by the NHS or a public health body because they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid-19; or
- they have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14-days.
Statutory Sick Pay Scheme payable from first day of sickness
The Statutory Sick Pay Scheme rules have been relaxed in relation to Coronavirus absences and employees can receive SSP from the first day of a Coronavirus-related absence – the three waiting days do not need to be served before SSP is payable (as is the case for non-Covid absences).
As far as periods of self-isolation are concerned, SSP can be paid from the first day that the employee is off work because they are self-isolating where the period of self-isolation:
- started on or after 13 March 2020 where someone they live with has Coronavirus symptoms or is self-isolating;
- started on or after 28 May 2020 where the employee was notified by the NHS that have come into contact with someone who tested positive for Coronavirus; and
- started on or after 26 August 2020 where the employee was notified by the NHS of the need to self-isolate prior to surgery.
Where an employee is required to self-isolate prior to surgery, only the days of self-isolation count as a Coronavirus-related absence. Any SSP paid for the day of the surgery and any recover days is not related to Coronavirus and cannot be reclaimed.
Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay Scheme
Eligible employers can reclaim up to two weeks’ SSP per employee where the employee has been absent from work due to Coronavirus, including where the employee is self-isolating or shielding. The claim can cover more than one period of absence, but where an employee has been absent from work for more than two weeks due to Coronavirus, the claim is capped at two weeks’ SSP – the employer must bear the cost of any further SSP paid.