The SSP rules have been relaxed in respect of Coronavirus absences. The relaxations mean that if an employee is absent from work for a Coronavirus absence and qualifies for SSP, you must pay SSP from the first working day of the absence – the three waiting days which normally have to be served before SSP is payable are waived in relation to Coronavirus absences. However, there must be a period of incapacity for work (PIW) for SSP to be payable. This means that the employee must have COVID-19 or be self-isolating for at least 4 days, including non-working days, to create a PIW.
The following periods of self-isolation count as Coronavirus absences:
- periods of self-isolation where the employee is self-isolating because they live with someone who has Coronavirus symptoms or who has tested positive for COVID-19;
- periods of self-isolation where the employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they have come into contact with someone with Coronavirus. This includes employees who are pinged and those contacted by NHS track and trace; and
- employees who have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery.
However, a period of self-isolation following the return to the UK from a country on either the amber list or the red list does not count as a Coronavirus absence, and employees who are self-isolating for this reason are not eligible for SSP unless they qualify on other grounds.
If you are a small employer, you may be able to reclaim SSP paid to employees who are self-isolating for the reasons outlined above. You will be a ‘small employer’ for these purposes if you had a PAYE payroll scheme on 28 February 2020 and, at that date, you had no more than 250 employees on your payroll. If you have more than one PAYE scheme, the 250-employee limit applies across all of your PAYE schemes.
Under the scheme, you can claim a maximum of two weeks’ SSP per employee for Coronavirus absences. This means that if an employee has more than one period of self-isolation, you will need to meet the cost of some of the SSP that you pay to them while absent.
For 2021/22, the weekly rate of SSP is £96.35.
Claims for SSP rebates can be made online.
If you have been affected by the ‘pingdemic’, talk to us to find out whether you are eligible for an SSP rebate.