New SSP rules have been introduced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which mean that an employee can receive SSP if they have coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating because someone they live with has coronavirus, or they’re shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.
Your employees can also get SSP from day one of being off work, rather than day four.
The brand-new Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme also allows small businesses claim back up to two weeks of SSP paid for the periods of sickness starting on or after 13th March. The weekly rate has increased from £94.25 to £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.
Eligibility for the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
You can use the Coronavirus SSP scheme as an employer if:
- You’re claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
- You have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
- You had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
Can employees on furlough claim SSP?
The government says that employers can furlough an employee who’s been told to shield and isn’t able to work from home. You can then claim for the employee via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Furloughed employees cannot claim SSP for the same time period.
What if an employee returns from furlough but is then told they need to shield? You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee, as long as the claims are for separate time periods.
How to claim for the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
- Gather the following information in advance to ensure the claim process is as smooth as possible:
- Your employer PAYE scheme reference number
- A contact name and phone number of someone HMRC can contact if they have queries
- UK bank or building society details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)
- The total amount of coronavirus SSP you have paid to your employees for the claim period - this should not exceed the weekly rate that is set
- The number of employees you are claiming for
- The start date and end date of the claim period
You can claim for multiple employees and pay periods. The start date of your claim is the start of the earliest pay period you’re claiming for. The end date is the end of the most recent pay period.
- From 26th May 2020, the online service will be available for you to access and make your claim. You will need the Government Gateway user ID you got when you registered for PAYE Online. If you did not register online, you will need to enrol for the PAYE Online service. If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf.
- After you have received payment, it’s important to keep records of sickness and SSP paid, as HMRC may ask to see them if there’s a dispute. Guidance states to keep hold of the following records for three years:
- The dates the employee was off sick and which of those was the employee contracted to work.
- The reason why your employee was off sick (i.e. if they had Coronavirus symptoms, someone they live with had symptoms or they were shielding).
- The employee’s National Insurance number.
Help and guidance during the Coronavirus pandemic
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