Small and medium-sized businesses will be able to recover up to two weeks’ Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments made to their employees due to coronavirus. In this article, we look at who is eligible and how to apply.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is being launched by the government on 26 May. Under the scheme, SMEs with fewer than 250 employees can apply to HMRC to recover the cost of paying up to two weeks’ coronavirus-related SSP.

Claims can be made in relation to SSP paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March. Claims can be made via a new online service from 26 May.

Who is eligible?

Employers are eligible if:

  • they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020, and
  • they had fewer than 250 employees before the same date.

The SSP repayment is payable if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have coronavirus (Covid-19) symptoms; or
  • cannot work because they are self-isolating as someone they live with has symptoms; or
  • are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.

Employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note for their employer to make a claim under the scheme.

Employers can claim for periods of sickness starting 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

Which employees does the scheme apply to?

The scheme covers:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • fixed-term contracts

How much can be claimed?

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of SSP. For the period 13 March 2020 to 5 April 2020 the SSP rate was £94.25 per week. From 6 April it is £95.85.

Where an employer pays more than the current rate of SSP in sick pay, they will only be able to reclaim the SSP rate.

Furloughed employees

You can claim under both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period for that employee. Once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classified as a furloughed employee.

How to claim

We can claim on your behalf, and please let us know if you would like us to do this.

To make a claim you will need to use the online service that will be available from 26 May 2020.

You will need:

  • the Government Gateway user ID you got when you registered for PAYE Online
  • your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • contact name and phone number for HMRC to contact if they have any queries
  • your UK bank or building society details
  • the total amount of coronavirus SSP you have paid to your employees for the claim period
  • the number of employees you are claiming for
  • the start date and end date of the claim period

You must keep records of SSP that you’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC. Please ask us if you would like more information about the records you need to keep.

You can find out more information about the scheme on the government’s website here.

If you would like to discuss applying under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, please call us on 020 7625 4545. 

For all latest Coronavirus (Covid-19) updates, please visit our dedicated support page here.   

Warning: The above is merely general guidance and should not be relied upon as formal advice. The advice we give to each client will depend on their specific circumstances. We suggest you take professional advice before taking any action in relation to the issues discussed above.