Changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to support businesses

SME employers may be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19 with legislation that is being brought forward. 

If an employee is self-isolating because of COVID-19, from 13 March they will be able to claim SSP. This also includes individuals self-isolating in a household, because someone else in that household is showing symptoms and therefore has been advised to do a household quarantine. 

Claiming from day one

SSP is to be paid from day 1, rather than day 4, for an absence from work, if this absence is due to the need to self-isolate because of COVID-19, or if someone has been diagnosed with the virus. The Government is currently legislating for this and once this has been passed, this will apply retrospectively from 13 March 2020.

SSP refunds to business for up to two weeks

Business classed as small or medium-sized (less than 250 employees), may be able to reclaim the costs of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

This will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee (who is either ill or has been told to self-isolate because of COVID-19).

Which employers will be eligible?

UK Employers that have fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020 will be eligible to reclaim up to two weeks SSP per employee. 

They will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (in according to the new eligibility criteria above) this will be from 13 March 2020, when legislated. 

What do eligible employers need to do to access the scheme?

The Government has stated that it will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism ASAP as there are no existing systems available to facilitate such employer refunds.

Employers are required to maintain a record of staff absences; however, employees are not required to provide a GP fit note.

Employees with symptoms of COVID-19 can obtain an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those in a household with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website.

Assistance for the self-employed and those not eligible for SSP

If you are self-employed or earning below the Lower Earnings Limit of £118 per week, you are not eligible for SSP.

If you are advised to self-isolate or have COVID-19 the Government has made some changes to how you can make a claim for Universal Credit (UC) or new style Employment and Support Allowance. 

Further information on this is available here for Universal Credit and here for the new style Employment and Support Allowance.

For those receiving Universal Credit that are self-employed and have been advised to self-isolate or have been diagnosed COVID-19, the requirements of the Minimum Income Floor will be temporarily relaxed.

We’re here to help your business

We can provide you with support to help you through this difficult time. We can help you and your business with:

  • Advice on funding including government-backed schemes
  • Assistance with cashflow modelling and sensitivity analysis, to plan for the forthcoming months
  • We can negotiate with HMRC with Time to Pay, to delay tax payments
  • If for any reason, the filing of company accounts need to be delayed, we can manage this on your behalf
  • We can assist in providing help to with business continuity plans

We are here to support out clients and to provide up-to-date advice. We have remote working facilities including cloud-based software packages and video conferencing facilities, to assist throughout this challenging period. For further information, contact our team of business experts on 0161 832 4841, email  or fill out the form below. In the meantime, explore our coronavirus business guidance portal.

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