Outsourced Payroll Professionals

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

COVID-19 UPDATE

Trace Payroll Services wants to alert customers to the latest situation regarding SSP payments in light of recent announcements made regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Please bear in mind that this is a fast-moving situation that is changing all of the time.

On 04 March 2020, the Prime Minister announced that SSP would be payable from day 1 rather than day 4 as per the current SSP rules.  The Budget on 11 March 2020 on page 38 (point 1.94) announced that the Government would temporarily extend SSP to cover:

  • Individuals who are unable to work because they have been advised to self-isolate
  • People caring for those within the same household who display COVID-19 symptoms and have been told to self-isolate

It also announced that there would be temporary alternatives to the Fit Note in COVID-19 cases.  An announcement on 18 March 2020 said the SSP could be reclaimed for up to 2 weeks by employers with less than 250 employees on 28 February 2020.  In short, there are three announcements that have been made and which the Government have to legislate for:

  1. SP from day 1
  2. An alternative to the Fit Note and
  3. Reclaim for some employers

All of this is subject to legislation changes or new legislation altogether. The first of this came on 12th March 2002 in the form of: The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020). This did one thing and amended the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982.  It means that someone who is self-isolating on or after 13 March 2020 is entitled to be classed as sick for the purposes of being entitled to SSP.  This is as long as they are self-isolating because of possible infection or contamination with coronavirus disease COVID-19.  Plus, this self-isolation must be in accordance with guidance published on 12 March 2020 by Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland or Public Health Wales.  This guidance said that people should self-isolate for 7 days if they showed symptoms.

It confirmed 13 March 2020 as the day from which SSP is payable from day 1 if the person is self-isolating.

On 16 March 2020, the UK Government rushed through emergency legislation in the form of The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2020.  These came into force on the following day (17 March 2020).  This second set of Regulations say that there is an SSP entitlement from day 1 (on or after 13 March 2020) as long as the sickness or self-isolation is in accordance with guidance published by Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland or Public Health Wales was that effective 16 March 2020.  The subtle difference:

  • The guidance published on 12 March advised people to self-isolate for 7 days
  • The guidance published on 16 March advised people to self-isolate for up to 14 days

So, we know that SSP is payable from day 1 in COVID-19 cases for sicknesses or self-isolation on or after 13 March 2020.  This is as long as it is in accordance with guidance in Great Britain published on 16 March 2020.

What has not been legislated for is:

  • Similar provisions in Northern Ireland
  • An alternative to the Fit Note and
  • Reclaim for some employers

Action for Employers

It is disappointing to have the necessary legislation come out in piecemeal fashion.  However, in a fast-moving situation, this is perhaps understandable.

SSP from Day 1

SSP can be paid from day 1 on or after 13 March 2020.  However, this will not be facilitated in any payroll product in the UK nor using HMRC’s SSP calculator.  All products will be administering SSP the way that they have been since it was legislated for in 1982.

We recommend that employers use create a new payment heading / item and manually enter amounts of additional Covid-19-related SSP.  When legislation exists to enable to a reclaim, entering under a new payment heading will enable easier reporting of amounts that can be reclaimed at a later date.

Certification

Until we are advised and the necessary legislation is in place, we recommend that employers are flexible with sickness notifications.

Payment

With regards to the manual payment to be made, Trace believes it is helpful to provide the following tables to enable employers to ascertain the SSP value:

For sickness days up to an including 05 April 2020

Number of Qualifying Days Number of days due
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
£ £ £ £ £ £ £
7 13.47 26.93 40.40 53.86 67.33 80.79 94.25
6 15.71 31.42 47.13 62.84 78.55 94.25
5 18.85 37.70 56.55 75.40 94.25
4 23.57 47.13 70.69 94.25
3 31.42 62.84 94.25
2 47.13 94.25
1 94.25

 

For sickness days on or after 06 April 2020

Number of Qualifying Days Number of days due
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
£ £ £ £ £ £ £
7 13.70 27.39 41.08 54.78 68.47 82.16 95.85
6 15.98 31.95 47.93 63.90 79.88 95.85
5 19.17 38.34 57.51 76.68 95.85
4 23.97 47.93 71.89 95.85
3 31.95 63.90 95.85
2 47.93 95.85
1 95.85

 

Employer Costs

For the time being, employers are going to have to meet the cost of the additional SSP in its entirety.  No reclaim mechanism has been established in legislation and, therefore, no guidance has been issued by HMRC.

Payments to HMRC

Until such time, it is important that employers remit the full PAYE payments to HMRC as now.  Employers having difficulty are advised to contact HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 015 9559 where a repayment plan can be discussed.

Get in touch


To find out more about fully managed payroll outsourcing with a personal touch, contact Trace Payroll Services today.

Call Trace Payroll Services on 0845 873 5619