Sickness and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
Staff and Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
New measures were announced extending statutory sick pay to start at day one for COVID-19 related illness or self isolation, backdated to 13 March 20, so the 3 waiting days will no longer apply in those cases.
Employers can now reclaim the first two weeks SSP for COVID-19 related absence from HMRC, our payroll department will deal with this in due course as the guidance on how to reclaim the SSP is yet to be issued, or if you run your own payroll and need help speak to us. SSP is currently about £94.25 a week but will increase for periods after 6 April 2020 to £95.85, contractual sick pay may be more than SSP. Because the guidance has not been issued on how to reclaim the SSP (we believe it will be by direct repayment) we cannot say for sure what evidence you will have to provide to support the claim. We understand that NHS 111 is developing an online portal that may cater for this. More information will follow when we have the detailed guidance.
Certain businesses may be on shutdown and may need to consider lay off or redundancy, or asking employees to consider taking holiday or unpaid leave. Obviously care must be given to notice periods, contracts and how staff are treated, ACAS offer free advice on employment matters www.acas.org.uk . We have access to WBW employment law specialists and we have secured an offer of a free initial phone consultation of up to half an hour relating to employment issues due to the crisis, contact us if you require a referral to them for free advice if help is needed in this regard.
If your business needs help with setting up Remote Desktop working or diverting communications we have contacts who we can refer you to.
Self employed and sickness
The self employed do not have the benefit of SSP, however they may be eligible for employment support allowance and may wish to consider registering for universal credit (UC) now, since the application process takes weeks and if self employed income drops they may have a UC entitlement in due course. The UC minimum income floor has been temporarily relaxed for those with COVID-19 or self isolating, they should be able to claim advance payments without physically visiting a job centre. Employment support allowance ESA will apply from day 1 (previously day 8) for COVID-19 cases/isolation, visit entitledto.co.uk or speak to citizens advice. ESA is worth up to £74 per week. Minimum NIC contributions may apply so those self employed with low profits or not having submitted a tax return yet may not be eligible.