This blog hopes to answer some of the most common questions regarding Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and the coronavirus; when are employees eligible for SSP? How does the reimbursement work? How does it work with furlough?
Who is entitled to Statutory Sick Pay during COVID-19?
In the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) Regulations 2020, it has been clarified that employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay if they are self-isolating in accordance with regulations laid down by Public Health England, Public Health Wales, or NHS Scotland.
This means that, if you are staying at home because of illness related to COVID-19 you can now claim SSP. This includes individuals who are caring for people in the same household and therefore have been advised to quarantine as a household. You must self-isolate for at least 4 days to be eligible, and this is also subject to usual eligibility requirements. Therefore, if you or a member of your household is displaying symptoms and you have to self-isolate, you can claim SSP.
As of 6 April 2020, SSP is £95.85. This is paid by the employer for up to 28 weeks.
There has also been a further amendment in the form of the Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020. This makes it clear that a person is deemed to be incapable of work, and therefore eligible to receive SSP, if they are unable to work because they have been advised to shield. The Regulations came into force on 16 April 2020 and do not appear to have retrospective effect, so it only applies after this date. These vulnerable individuals can also be furloughed.
However, there is no sick pay available for those who are living with the vulnerable. Those persons are not required to isolate, and therefore they would not be entitled to SSP. An employer can, however, consider furloughing those people.
Employees on furlough do not qualify for SSP.
What changes have been made to SSP?
There are various changes to SSP due to the coronavirus. One of which is that SSP is going to be payable from day one, not day four, where it is relevant to coronavirus or coronavirus related illness.
If you have coronavirus or are advised to stay at home, you can get an isolation note by visiting the NHS 111 online, rather than visiting a doctor. This isolation note replaces the usual needs to provide a “sick note” after 7 days of sickness absence.
For those whose attendance is required, isolation notes will also be accepted by Jobcentre Plus as evidence of your inability to attend to retrieve benefits.
Further, the Government will reimburse two weeks of SSP per employee, for employers, where their SSP payments arise from coronavirus.
What options are available to those who are not entitled to SSP?
For those who are not eligible for SSP, for example because you are self-employed, or not earning enough, there is an option to claim for Universal Credit. Universal Credit is payable from day 1 of sickness, rather than day 8, if you have coronavirus and must self-isolate accordingly.
If you have any further questions, our helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org remains open. We are more than happy to help and answer any questions on both sick pay but also any other coronavirus related questions you may have.
By the Thrive Tribe
Anything within this article should not be taken as legal advice. Any information provided will be general advice and for reference purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Specific legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be sought separately before taking or deciding not to take any action. If you wish to obtain specific advice to your situation and your decisions, please contact us and we will thereafter be able to advise.