18th Mar 2020

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) changes during COVID-19

With the delay phase of the COVID-19 plan now underway, we’re getting more and more questions about Statutory Sick Pay. Here’s a summary of what we know, and what we expect.

What we know

  • If your employee is entitled to SSP* the entitlement will start on the first day of absence instead of the fourth.
  • If your employee is not entitled to SSP under current legislation these changes do not apply to them.  They may be able to get benefits under Universal Credit.
  • If the absence is COVID-19 related (including self-isolation) you will be able to reclaim the SSP against your PAYE liability. Self-isolation is defined as isolating yourself from other people to prevent infection or contamination with Coronavirus disease, in accordance with guidance published by Public Health England**, and by reason of that isolation you are unable to work.
  • The official start date for this was Friday 13th March and the period of legislation ends eight months later on 13th November.  It says so in The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020.
  • You will be able to self-certificate through a call to 111 rather than through a doctors fit note. We don’t know when this formally starts but expect it is already in place.
  • There’s currently no HMRC process to separate out related and non-related absences and reimburse accordingly.

What we expect

We expect there will probably be a one-off reclaim process introduced at some stage in the future.  Whether this is manual, through a web page link or through your payroll software is unknown. This may be some time in the future.

We expect the rules to evolve again, and will clarify in the next few days and weeks.

Eligibility criteria found here

** Guidance found here