Payroll update: Statutory sick pay for those affected by COVID-19

Published: Tuesday 19 May 2020

The Government announced at Budget 2020 that ‘eligible’ employees will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which will be payable from day one.  This scheme is available to small and medium-sized businesses with less than 250 employees and will cover up to two weeks of SSP where an employee is unable to work because they:

  • have COVID-19; or
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home; or
  • are shielding because they have been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

HMRC has now announced that the online service, which will allow employers to make a claim, will be available from 26 May.  A claim can be made for repayments of SSP paid to employees for eligible periods of sickness (as described above) commencing on or after 13 March 2020.  The current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week and was £94.25 for the period 13 March 2020 to 5 April 2020.

To make a claim you will need to have both a Government Gateway ID and be enrolled for the PAYE Online service for employers.  Please read our article for further details of how to set these up if you do not already have access to here.  Once you have access you will need the following information to make a claim:

  • PAYE scheme reference number
  • Contact details
  • UK bank account details
  • Total amount of COVID-19 SSP paid to your employees for the relevant claim period (capped at the weekly rate above)
  • The number of employees the claim is for
  • The claim period

You must also keep your records for three years following the date the repayment is made by HMRC.  This includes details of the dates the employee(s) were off sick (including those days which were qualifying under the scheme), the reason the employee(s) were off work and the employee’s national insurance number.

For those employees that are not eligible (earnings of less than £118 per week) they will be able to make a claim for universal credit or contributory employment and support allowance. 

Company sick pay should be processed in line with your current company policy.  Should you want to amend that policy in light of the current circumstances you should communicate this change to your employees. 

If you have any questions or would like us to make a claim on your behalf, please do get in touch with your usual payroll contact.

Key contacts

Cheryl Baker
Cheryl Baker
Payroll Solutions Associate Director
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