SMEs can benefit from Covid sick pay rebates

16th July 2021

As Covid cases continue to rise again, small businesses in particular are faced with the extra cost of sick pay as employees fall victim to the virus.

But help is at hand and the Government is offering a rebate of up to two weeks sick pay related to Coronavirus for firms with 250 employees or less.

Employers can use the relief scheme to reclaim up to two weeks’ worth of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) that they have paid out to employees for COVID-19 sickness absences. SSP for these absences will also be paid from the first day off, rather than day four as is standard.

You can claim if:

  • you have already paid your employee’s sick pay
  • you are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to Coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll scheme

You can make SSP rebate and furlough grant claims through either scheme, for the same employee, but not for the same time period.

The online service to claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now available and as an employer you need to:

  • check that you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme
  • be registered for PAYE online
  • work out your claim period

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

  • an isolation note from NHS 111 – if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they are at high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus

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
  • fixed term contracts (until the date their contract ends

What you can claim
The repayment will cover up to two weeks SSP starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have Coronavirus symptoms
  • are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • are self-isolating because they have been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they have come into contact with someone with Coronavirus
  • have been advised by letter to shield because they are clinically extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from Coronavirus
  • have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14 days

You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than two weeks in total.

Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Interested in discussing your options with one of our expert team? Get in touch today, we are always happy to help!