Concerns continue to grow regarding absences from work during the Coronavirus pandemic. Virus counter-measures requires a significant number of employees having to self-isolate if they are feeling sick or who have returned from other affected areas worldwide.
To help support small and medium sized businesses, the government has announced that these employers will be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for eligible employees who have been off work because of the Coronavirus. The plans were announced as part of the Budget measures to help support businesses and individuals with the economic disruption caused by the outbreak.
To cope with this change, the government will need to set-up a repayment mechanism for affected employers as existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP.
The main eligibility criteria of the scheme are as follows:
- This refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19.
- Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible. The size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.
- Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19.
- Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.
- The eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to self-isolators, comes into force.
The Chancellor also hinted that there would be further support for incomes and jobs when he announced additional support to protect businesses on 17 March 2020. We will of course keep you informed of any further changes.