From 26 May 2020 onwards, employers can make claims through the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Rebate Scheme.
This is a new online service and forms part of the package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. The service enables small and medium-sized employers with fewer than 250 employees, to recover SSP payments they have made to their employees.
Employers will be able to make their claims through the service and receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. Tax agents can also use the service to make claims on behalf of employers.
Employers are eligible for the scheme if they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020 and they had fewer than 250 employees before the same date.
The repayment will cover up to two weeks of SSP and is payable if an employee is unable to work because they:
– have coronavirus; or
– are self-isolating and unable to work from home; or
– are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
The weekly rate of SSP from 6 April 2020 is £95.85 (rising from £94.25 a week in 2019/20). Employers can choose to go further and pay more than the statutory minimum – this is known as occupational or contractual sick pay – but where an employer pays more than the current rate in sick pay, they will only be able to reclaim the SSP rate.
Employers can furlough their employees who have been advised to shield in line with public health guidance and are unable to work from home, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classified as a furloughed employee. Where an employee has been notified to shield and has not been furloughed, the rebate will compensate up to two weeks of SSP from 16 April 2020.