Employee statutory sick pay, paid due to Covid-19, has been reinstated. The SSPRS (Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme), which reimbursed employers, was launched in April 2020 to support employers with the rising cost of sick pay as employees increasingly had to take time off work due to having Covid-19 or having to self-isolate.
For up to two weeks per employee, any eligible employers could claim back SSP through the Rebate Scheme for any absences that fell before 1st October 2021.
Paying SSP is a legal requirement (as long as the employee meets specific criteria). At the start of the pandemic, SSP regulations were extended to include those who were self-isolating and in addition to those who were sick, meaning employers paying significantly more SSP to their employees than before the pandemic.
The SSPRS enabled employers with fewer than 250 employees to claim Covid-associated SSP to a maximum of 2 weeks per employee.
In September 2021, we reported that the scheme was due to end.
Due to the spread of the Omicron variant across the UK, resulting in rising cases of sickness and self-isolation, the scheme re-opened on 21 December 2021 for eligible businesses across the UK. Claims cannot be made until mid-January 2022, however, when they can be made retrospectively.
Therefore, employers should carefully record absence, reasons for absence and accompanying evidence to make claims accurate.
Questions due to be cleared up by (awaited) complete government guidance include, but are not limited to:
- does eligibility to use the scheme continue to depend on headcount at 28 February 2020 or will new data will be applied?
- will the scheme be reset completely, meaning that employers can claim in respect of employees that had already reached the maximum claim amount?
We will aim to provide clarity on these questions once known. The UK government has confirmed that businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England will be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premise.
If you need help implementing any of the above, please contact the IHRS team. Email HRhelp@ihrsolutions.co.uk, call 01604 709509 or visit our website.