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Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme – Online portal will launch on 26 May 2020

The government announced yesterday that a new online service will be launched on 26 May for small and medium sized employers to recover Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.
The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

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

You 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

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.

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
  • 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

Who can use the scheme?
You can use the scheme as an employer if:

  •  you are claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020

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 for that employee.

Employers can furlough their employees who have been advised to shield in line with public health guidance and are unable to work from home, under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Once furloughed, the employee should no longer receive SSP and would be classified as a furloughed employee. Where an employee has been notified to shield and has not been furloughed, the rebate will compensate up to 2 weeks of SSP from 16 April 2020.

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)

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 the 28 February 2020.

When you can claim
The online service you will use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available on 26 May 2020.
To use the online service you will need the Government Gateway user ID you got when you registered for PAYE Online. If you did not register online you will need to enrol for the PAYE 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.

What information you will need to make the claim
You will need:

  • your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • contact name and phone number of someone we can contact if we have queries
  • UK bank or building society details (only provide bank account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted)
  • the total amount of Coronavirus SSP you have paid to your employees for the claim period – this should not exceed the weekly rate that is set
  • the number of employees you are claiming for the start date and end date of the claim period

You can claim for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time. The start date of your claim is the start date of the earliest pay period you are claiming for. The end date of your claim is the end date of the most recent pay period you are claiming.

Records you must keep
You must keep records of SSP that you have 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 is a dispute over payment of SSP.

We are ourselves issuing regular updates via our website and e-mail cannons. If you are not receiving these and would like to be added to the list please e-mail [email protected] with the subject “Add me to your COVID-19 e-mails”.