Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

As announced in the 2020 Budget, a package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, has launched. This scheme will allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). For more information about the scheme, visit HMRC’s website HERE.

Eligibility

The eligibility criteria for the scheme is as follows:

  • you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020
  • you’re eligible to receive state aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework – more information about this can be found on GOV.UK (please use the search term above).

Who is entitled?

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and entitled to SSP, because they are either:

  • had or have coronavirus
  • could not or cannot work because they were/are self-isolating at home
  • were/are shielding in line with public health guidance.

You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period.

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends)

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim.

Preparation

You must keep records of SSP that you’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC.

You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days
  • the reason they said they were off work – if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
  • the employee’s National Insurance number.

You’ll need to print or save your state aid declaration (from your claim summary) and keep this until 31 December 2024.

What you can claim

You can claim for periods of sickness starting on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 - if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • 16 April 2020 - if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus

The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of Statutory Sick Pay you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

HMRC does also provide a SSP calculator to allow you to accurately calculate your SSP entitlement. This can be found HERE.

The information that we have provided is for general purposes only and therefore does not constitute professional advice. Appropriate professional advice should be sought for individual circumstances before any further action is taken.