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Information about Sick Pay

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay

Support for businesses who are paying sick pay to employees

Legislation has been brought forward to allow small-and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

The eligibility criteria for the scheme is as follows:

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks' SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19
  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible - the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19
  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. If evidence is required by an employer, those with symptoms of coronavirus can get an isolation note from NHS 111 online and those who live with someone that has symptoms can get a note from the NHS website
  • Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of SSP to those staying at home comes into force
  • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
  • If you're a director of a limited company with less than 250 employees, you can pay yourself two weeks of SSP if you need to self-isolate subject to meeting the minimum payroll requirement for SSP.
  • The government will refund £94 per week, maximum £188, to your company.

Eligibility

  • You are eligible for the scheme if:
  • Your business is UK based
  • Your business is a small or medium-sized and employs fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020

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)
  • the NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they're 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)

We will let you know when the scheme will end.

Employees who have transferred under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)

You can make a claim for SSP paid due to coronavirus to employees who have been transferred to you under TUPE if you had:

  • a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • fewer than 250 employees (including TUPE transferred employees) across all PAYE payroll schemes on 28 February 2020

If you did not have a PAYE scheme that was created on or before 28 February 2020, but the previous employer did, you can make a claim if they had fewer than 250 employees across all their PAYE schemes on that date.

As the new employer, you can only make claims for SSP that you have paid, a claim cannot include SSP paid by the previous employer.

If you're claiming for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme

You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.

State aid limits

Your claim amount should not take you above the state aid limits under the EU Commission temporary framework. This is when combined with other aid received under the framework. The maximum level of state aid that a business may receive is €800,000. There is a lower maximum for agriculture at €100,000 and aquaculture and fisheries at €120,000.

Connected companies and charities

Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees was fewer than 250 on 28 February 2020.

Using an agent to do PAYE online

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf. You should speak to your agent about whether they are providing this service.

If you would like to use an agent, but do not have one authorised to do PAYE online for you, you can do that by accessing your HMRC online services and selecting ‘manage account'.

You must be enrolled in PAYE online for employers to do this and will need to ask your agent for their agent ID. Your agent can get this from their HMRC online service for agents by selecting ‘authorise client.'

You can also use this service to remove authorisation from your agent if you do not want it to continue after they have submitted your claims.

If an agent makes a claim on your behalf, you will need to tell them which bank account you would like the grant to be paid into. You must only provide bank details where a BACS payment can be accepted.

What you can claim

The repayment will cover up to 2 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've been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they've come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks

From 8 June 2020, the majority of people entering or returning to the UK will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If an employee is unable to work during this period, they will not qualify for SSP unless they also meet one of the above criteria.

You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.

You can claim from the first qualifying day your employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 - if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • 16 April 2020 - if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus
  • 28 May 2020 - if your employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they've come into contact with someone with coronavirus

A ‘qualifying day' is a day an employee usually works on. The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you're an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

Records you must keep

You must keep records of SSP that you've paid and want to claim back from HMRC.

You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days
  • the reason they said they were off work - if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
  • the employee's National Insurance number

You can choose how you keep records of your employees' sickness absence. HMRC may need to see these records if there's a dispute over payment of SSP.

You'll need to print or save your state aid declaration (from your claim summary) and keep this until 31 December 2024.

How to claim

You must have paid your employees' sick pay before you claim it back.

You can claim back coranvirus-related Statutory Sick Pay using the online service.

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf.

Employers who are unable to claim online should have received a letter on an alternative way to claim. Contact HMRC if you have not received a letter and are unable to make any eligible claims online.

Other help you can get

Get help online

Use HMRC's digital assistant to find more information about the coronavirus support schemes.

Contacting HMRC

We are receiving very high numbers of calls. Contacting HMRC unnecessarily puts our essential public services at risk during these challenging times.

You can contact HMRC about the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme if you cannot get the help you need online.

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