Today (19th May) the Government announced the launch of a new online service for small and medium-sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was announced at the March 2020 Budget as part of a package of support measures for businesses affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.
Small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, will be able to apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus-related SSP via an online system from 26th May.
Therefore, employers will 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 will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers.
Employers are eligible 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 2 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 current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week. Employers can choose to go further and pay more than the statutory minimum. This is known as occupational or contractual sick pay.
Where an employer pays more than the current rate of SSP in sick pay, they will only be able to reclaim the SSP rate.
The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:
- full-time employees
- part-time employees
- employees on agency contracts
- employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
Other SSP eligibility criteria may apply.
Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees is fewer than 250 on or before 28 February 2020. Employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note for their employer to make a claim under the scheme.
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 2 weeks of SSP from 16 April 2020.
In preparation, employers should keep records of all the SSP payments that they wish to claim from HMRC. Contact the BDO team if you have any queries.