Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme reintroduced
Due to the effect of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on the UK economy, the government has – from 19th January 2022 - reintroduced the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme that previously ran from March 2020 to September 2021. The scheme was designed to help employers whose staff had contracted the virus, or had been affected by it, and who were paying Statutory Sick Pay for them.
Who can use the scheme?
An employer can use the scheme if:
they are UK-based
they are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
they have already paid their employees COVID-related SSP
they have a PAYE payroll scheme as of 30th November 2021
they had fewer than 250 employees on 30th November 2021
What can I claim?
The Scheme will repay the employer the SSP paid to current and former employees and will cover up to 2 weeks of sickness starting from the first qualifying day for coronavirus-related illness, provided that the period of sickness started on or after 21st December 2021.
What does ‘coronavirus-related’ mean?
A coronavirus-related issue means an employee is unable to work because they either:
have COVID-19 symptoms;
are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms;
are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with COVID-19; or
have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14 days.
More than one claim can be made per employee, but the employer cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.
If the employee’s absence started before 21st December 2021, a claim can be made only on or after 21st December 2021.
If an employer had made a claim for an employee under the previous scheme, they will be able to make a new claim for the same employee if they are absent and that absence is related to COVID-19.
What type of employment is included?
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 and fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends).
Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees was fewer than 250 on 30th November 2021.
I pay more than the weekly rate of SSP. What can I claim?
If the employer pays more than the weekly rate of SSP, they can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.
Do my employees need to give me a fit note?
Employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note for the employer to make a claim, but the business can ask the employee to give either an isolation note which they can obtain from the NHS 111 online service if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus.
What do I need to make a claim?
To use the online service, the employer will need their Government Gateway user ID. If the business has not registered online, they will need to enrol for the PAYE Online service.
Agents who are authorised to do PAYE online for the employer will be able to claim on their behalf.
The employer must also have:
their employer PAYE scheme reference number,
contact name and phone number of someone HMRC can contact if they have queries,
a UK bank or building society details,
the total amount of coronavirus SSP the business has paid to their employees for the claim period (this should not exceed the weekly rate that is set),
the number of employees they are claiming for and
the start date and end date of the claim period.
What records do I have to keep?
For at least three years after the claim is submitted, the employer must keep records of the SSP that has been paid and reclaimed from HMRC, including the dates the employee was off sick, which of those dates were qualifying days, the reason the employee was off work - if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms - and the employee’s National Insurance number.
The way the records are kept is up to the employer, but they should bear in mind that HMRC may need to see these records if there is a dispute over payment of SSP.
How long will the scheme last?
It has been announced that this new iteration of the scheme is temporary but so far, there is no information regarding when it will end. The government has said that it will keep the matter under review and this is much the same system as happened with the previous iteration until it was ultimately brought to an end in September 2021.
Looking for more advice or guidance on this matter, or any other business-related issue?
rradarstation gives you 24/7 access to guidance, videos and on demand webinars answering frequent questions and downloadable templates to use in the day-to-day running of your business, each written and verified by our legal professionals. You’ll find the answers you’re looking for at rradarstation.