Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020 have been introduced to amend the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 so that a person is deemed to be incapable of work and therefore entitled to SSP only if they are self-isolating in accordance with guidance published by Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland or Public Health Wales. This includes those self-isolating because they have COVID-19, have symptoms of COVID-19, live with someone who is showing symptoms of COVID-19 (including children) or who are self-isolating at the direction of their doctor or the NHS.
Opinion differs on whether or not these regulations extend to ‘vulnerable people’ who have only been directed to practice ‘social distancing’ by government guidance, not to self-isolate in accordance with a Public Health directive. If you have directed a ‘vulnerable person’, i.e. someone over the age of 70, pregnant or with an underlying health condition, not to attend work the safest view we would suggest is for you to continue to pay them their full pay.
The following additional changes have been (or will imminently be) made to the relevant legislation:
- SSP is now payable from day one rather than day four of sick leave
- The government will reimburse employers with less than 250 employees for SSP paid to employees who are self-isolating for up to 14 days. We wait advice as to how SSP can be reclaimed.
- Employees can self-certify for the first 7 days of sick leave. Ordinarily, a sick note would be required to provide cover absences beyond 7 days. In order to prevent people attending GP offices unnecessarily, employees may now apply for a fit note online from NHS. Employers are being encouraged to be flexible and exercise discretion in relation to the requirements for medical evidence. So far as we are aware, employers will not need to provide HMRC with a sick note in order to claim SSP reimbursements.