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Coronavirus and SSP Changes

Changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) entitlement have been made due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus but what are they?

Employees still need to qualify for SSP by meeting the earnings threshold for the relevant period. Until April 5th 2020 this is an average of £118 + per week for at least the 8 weeks prior to the last payday.
From April 6th 2020 the threshold is £120 per week.
For examples of how to calculate this please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/guidance/statutory-sick-pay-manually-calculate-your-employees-payments

SSP is usually paid from the 4th working day the employee is off sick (the first 3 days are unpaid and known as “waiting days”). The major change here is that if the period of sickness is due to either being diagnosed with the Coronavirus or the employee has been advised to “self-isolate” by NHS staff, those 3 waiting days are voided and SSP can be paid from day 1 of sick leave (first full day off work).
The current rate of SSP is £94.25 per week.
From 6th April 2020 this increases to £95.85 per week.

Employees can “self-certify” a period of sickness for the first 7 days. They do not need medical evidence. Under “normal” circumstances, it would be after that point that someone who is ill or injured would get a “fit note” from their GP to cover their time off work after that.
Although it is usual practice, requesting evidence of sickness is not a legal requirement to pay SSP – the Employer just needs to trust that the member of staff is off sick.
People are now being advised to call the NHS 111 Helpline to request a fit note for their employer if they have been advised to self isolate due to the Coronavirus.
The NHS Helpline is already overwhelmed with these calls and the volume is likely to increase. We would like to suggest that if they are happy, employers inform staff that should they be off work due to self-isolating, they do not need to provide written evidence from the NHS. This would help lift the burden on the helplines.

SSP can be refunded for small employers with less than 250 staff. The Chancellor announced in the Budget on 11th March that small employers would be reimbursed for up to 2 weeks of SSP they pay to staff if it relates to the Coronavirus. The repayment methods are yet to be finalised.

Staff who don’t qualify for SSP, the self-employed and gig economy workers should have faster access to benefits such as the Employment and Support Allowance or Universal Credit to help them over the time they take off work due to the virus.

For more guidance on the Coronavirus for employers and businesses please visit:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19

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