Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme launches on 26 May

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Please Note: All information correct at time of writing on 22 May 2020. We do our very best to make sure our information is as up to date as possible, but we’d encourage you to check out our latest articles and to check the government website for updates as they happen.

In early March the Chancellor announced that small and medium sized businesses would be able to reclaim SSP paid in relation to COVID -19 related sickness absence. The government has now passed legislation bringing this into effect – the Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Funding of Employers’ Liabilities) Regulations 2020.

These regulations will come into effect on Tuesday 26 May and on the same day HMRC will be launching its new online service enabling employers to submit their claims for rebates under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme.

Who is entitled to claim?

The scheme is available to employers meeting the following criteria:

  • They had fewer than 250 employees as at 28 February 2020 and
  • They had a PAYE scheme created and operational by that date and
  • They were not already in difficulty on 31 December 2019 – this is a reference to the levels of temporary state aid permitted under European rules as the rebate will be classed as state aid

What can be claimed?

An employer can reclaim up to 2 weeks SSP for any current or former employee where the employee could not attend work because:

  • They had COVID-19 symptoms or
  • They were self-isolating because a member of their household had COVID-19 symptoms (household self-isolation) or
  • They received a letter from the NHS or their GP telling them they must stay at home for at least 12 weeks (shielding)

If the claim relates to a period when either the employee had symptoms of the disease or was self-isolating because a member of their household had symptoms, you can claim for periods of sickness absence which started on or after 13 March 2020.

However, if your employee is shielding, you can only claim for periods of absence on or after 16 April 2020.

How much can you claim?

You can only claim the weekly rate of SSP at the relevant time (from 6 April this is £95.85, prior to then £94.25).

Can you recover Company Sick Pay?

No, only SSP can be reclaimed.

What if my employee was on furlough during this period?

An employer is not permitted to submit a claim for furlough subsidy and a claim for SSP rebate for the same employee for the same period of time.

Does the employee need to provide a fit note?

No, but in the case of a shielding employee, the employer should get a copy of the letter advising the employee to shield and for absences of over 7 days, the employer should ask the employee to get an NHS 111 isolation note.

What about group companies?

Connected companies can also use the scheme as long as their total combined number of PAYE employees was fewer than 250 on the 28 February 2020.

What will I need to make a claim?

To access the online service you will need your Government Gateway user ID. You will need to provide the following information when submitting your claim:

  • your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • the contact details of someone to speak to if HMRC have queries
  • your UK bank or building society details (they must be able to accept a Bacs payment)
  • the total amount of coronavirus SSP you have paid to your employees for the claim period – (if you paid enhanced company sick pay, only claim the statutory rate)
  • the number of employees you are claiming for
  • the start date and end date of the claim period. Employers can claim for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time. In this situation, the start date will be the start date of the earliest period you’re claiming for and the end date of the claim will be the most recent period

What records do I have to keep?

You are required to keep the following records for a minimum of 3 years from the date you receive payment of your claim:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days i.e. the days they normally work
  • the reason they said they were off work – i.e. whether they had symptoms/ were in household isolation or were shielding
  • the employee’s National Insurance number

Can someone claim on your behalf?

Yes, if you use an authorised agent to do PAYE online for you, they can submit the claim on your behalf.

Is there a time limit for making a claim?

Claims must be made within 1 year of the later of either:

  • the last qualifying day rebate is being claimed for or
  • 26 May 2020

Citation can help at every step of the way

These are challenging times, especially for employees, business owners and employers. Our team of HR and Employment Law experts provide you with the latest government news to help you work through this difficult period.

Keep an eye on our latest articlesfree guides and social media for more advice and guidance. And if you’re already a Citation client, you can call our advice line on 0345 844 4848.

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