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Statutory Sick Pay during Covid 19

Statutory Sick Pay during Covid 19

SKU: 7.65
  • Advice

    Working from home is a business model which allows employees to work long-distance from their place of employment on a temporary or permanent basis. This ensures that businesses can continue running even when restrictions may prevent employees from coming to the workplace. The advantages to working from home are evident - primarily there is no commute time, and as such businesses will be able to expect employees to attend their contracted hour’s easily, and employees will be more comfortable working in an environment which they regard as safe. It may also reduce instances of harassment, both physical and verbal by establishing distance barriers.


    Following Government Procedures during Covid-19

    Businesses have new regulatory considerations in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. There is a fair chance that in the future, many new regulations in times of national crisis will arise building upon previous legislation, tailored to the new situation. Business owners who prepare for such eventualities will be in a position of advantage over those who have not. This section will be considering these provisions under the law, especially how they affect current businesses and what businesses can do in the future.


    The most relevant piece of legislation to come out in recent times is the Coronavirus Act 2020. This Act was designed to last for a period of 2 years, from 2019 to 2021, however following the arrival of the Omicron variant has put the entire situation regarding the pandemic in flux, as such you check the latest regulations/rules on the UK Government website.


    Generally, businesses must now consider the following in light of the pandemic:

    • They must implement new safety and hygiene procedures if their businesses require a physical presence.
    • Employees and workers will be able to take emergency volunteer leave (a form of unpaid leave new to the current situation).
    • The Coronavirus Act 2020 requires businesses to adopt further regulations for statutory sick pay, making it available to claim from the first day of incapacity.
    • Employers with less than 250 employees may be able to reclaim the costs of statutory sick pay of COVID-19 related sickness absence.
    • The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 imposes the same duty of care on employers to ensure that all employees are following health and safety procedures, such as risk assessments, even if they are working from home.


    Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

    Subject to guidance from legislation, businesses must ensure that they take into account a new form of unpaid statutory sick pay for COVID-19. To qualify, employees must show that they are absent from work due to incapacity. If employees have not shown COVID-19 symptoms or been diagnosed with it when they cease to work, it is unlikely for them to meet the definition of a day of incapacity set out in legislation. Further official regulations, such as the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 set out that certain types of absence may be considered days of incapacity.


    This may include:

    • Being under medical care due to disease or disability.
    • Cautionary reasons, where a registered medical practitioner has told the employee to abstain from work.
    • The employee isolates themselves to prevent infection of others with COVID-19.
    • Shielding to prevent personal infection, resulting in not being able to work.


    Businesses must pay SSP when the following conditions are met: -

    • The employee has an employment contract;
    • They have done some work under their contract;
    • They have been sick for 4 or more days in a row;
    • They earn an average of at least £120 per week;
    • They give the employer correct notice of their sickness; and
    • Give proof of their sickness after 7 days off, such as self-certification for periods up to 7 days, doctor’s statements after the first seven dates, or fit notes.


    Further considerations are given in light of the COVID-19 regulations in regards to conditions that employees may meet to be paid SSP. Employers who refuse or repeatedly fail to pay SSP are subject to penalties under the Statutory Payments Act 2004.


    A few examples are listed below.

    • Up to £300 for an initial breach. Further penalties may be incurred, of up to £60 per day after the first penalty of £300 has been imposed until SSP is paid to the employee.
    • Persons failing to maintain records according to the National Insurance Contributions and Statutory Payments Act 2004 results in a £3,000 penalty.
    • Employers failing to make SSP payments are also liable to a penalty of up to £3,000.
    • Fraudulently or negligently making incorrect statements of documents linked to SSP under the law will result in a penalty of up to £3,000.


    Businesses will need to address SSP seriously in light of the new regulations. It may result in heavy penalties if they do not and will deteriorate relationships between employees and employers.


    Reclaiming Statutory Sick Pay

    Statutory sick pay varies. The basic SSP rate per week at the time of writing (February 2022) is £96.35 for up to 28 weeks, paid for the period that an employee normally works (‘qualifying days’). Typically to ensure employee satisfaction and retention, employment contracts may include provisions to give greater SSP considerations, such as full-time pay during the period of absence. Employment contracts may not drop below the basic SSP rate set out by government regulations.


    Employers may stop paying SSP when the employee’s incapacity for work ends, such as when they return to work or stop sending doctor’s certificates. After this period, businesses will want to reclaim any losses they may have suffered as a result of the employee being sick. This section will outline the procedure for how to claim, what you may claim and any administrative procedures or advice that you can take.


    You will first need to ensure that your business is entitled to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and is registered for PAYE Online. Next, you will need to work out your claim period and ensure that you have paid sick pay to your employee before claiming. You will need a variety of important information to make a claim, such as the number of employees you are claiming for, the start and end dates of your claim period, the total amount of sick pay you are claiming back (a maximum of 2 weeks), your employer PAYE reference number and bank details of where the funds will be deposited. Records must be kept of all SSP you have paid that you want to claim back from the HMRC.

    How we can help

    Lestons can examine the current rules regarding work and the Covid19 pandemic, To gain our assistance you need to open a case, this is done by taking advantage of our free consultation service, activated by the link at the top of the page, should you wish to start a case the caseworker will send you the suitable payment link.


    Please note your caseworker can only give generic advice, their role is to prepare your details for handling by our legal team and to act as your point of contact, they will also issue you with your Password and PIN, these will be needed to log onto your client dashboard. From your dashboard you will be able to manage and view every aspect of your case, upload documents, images, files etc.


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