Statutory Sick Pay Claim and Latest on Extended Entitlement Beyond COVID-19


September 28, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected not only how we view the workplace but also, how the government perceives sickness and the period of incapacity to work. Employers, as well as employees, have felt the strain of working amidst the pandemic as they juggled work from home and now the new flexible furlough scheme. However, with the pandemic persisting, the government has been forced to embrace new preventive measures including considering the new ‘support bubble’ as a possible criterion for SSP payment.

Normally Statutory Sick Pay is payable when an employee has been on leave for at least 4 days due to an illness, the payment usually starts after the first three ‘waiting days’ are crossed. However, due to COVID-19, the waiting days in 4 cases as listed below have been waived off. This means employees for whom the below cases hold will be eligible for payment from the first qualifying day (a day the employee usually works) the employee didn’t turn up for work.

When Will The Employee Be Paid SSP From The First Day Of Illness?

  • From the 13th of March 2020 – if the employee or someone that they are living with has coronavirus symptoms
  • From the 16th of April 2020 – if the employee is on shielding as they are falling within a vulnerable category and have a note from the NHS indicating this
  • From the 28th of May 2020 – if the employee has received information from the NHS or Public Health that they’ve been in contact with a person confirmed with COVID 19
  • From the 6th of July 2020 – if someone considered to be in their ‘support bubble’ also called ‘extended household’ in Scotland or Wales; suffers from COVID 19 symptoms

When Employers Can Make Reclaims On SSP Paid:

The good news for employers is that reclaiming SSP on the payments made for the above is possible. However, this applies to a period of 2 weeks when:

  1. The employee in question was not coming to work due to being positive with the coronavirus or in self-isolation or in shielding from the same
  2. The company’s PAYE scheme was started before or on the 28th of February 2020
  3. There were less than 250 employees on the payroll scheme on the 28th of February 2020

If the company’s contract with the employee mentions enhanced SSP payments then the same would be applicable in this case as well. However, the reclaim is only possible for the Statutory amount which equates to £95.85 a week per employee. In case the employee is working from home despite being ill then sick pay would not be applicable. Nor would the reclaim be possible if the employee is at home due to any other illness.

Extended Entitlement to SSP Beyond COVID-19

This new extended entitlement to SSP has commenced on the 26th of August 2020. The government has added a further amendment to the SPP or Statutory Sick Pay scheme about when the General Coronavirus Amendment No. 6 of the Regulations of 2020 has come to force.

SSP previously was for periods of illness or incapacity. The COVID 19 pandemic has taught us more on the importance of ‘preventive measures. Thus, the new SSP scheme does not just include those who are having COVID, or self-isolating or living with someone who has the illness. 

The Extended Entitlement Includes:

  • Employees who have received in writing from a certified medical practitioner that they will be undergoing a hospital or surgical procedure
  • Been notified that before the above reason for the admission in a hospital they need to remain at home for a period for 14 days
  • Have to be at home as they are following this advice

In consideration to the above, if the employee can continue to work from home, they will not be eligible to SSP.