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As the law on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) continues to evolve in response to the Coronavirus outbreak, the Government has enacted the “Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme” (the Scheme), under which eligible employers will be able to reclaim SSP paid to employees due to coronavirus. Government guidance on the Scheme can be found here.

The Scheme will allow eligible employers to reclaim SSP:

  • Which has been paid to current or former employees
  • For periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020
  • For employees who had coronavirus or could not work because they were self-isolating (see here for more information about eligibility for SSP)
  • For up to two weeks from the first day of sickness.

However, the Scheme will not cover more than the current SSP rate, regardless of whether employers may have paid more to their employees.

To be eligible to reclaim SSP under the Scheme, employers need to have had a PAYE payroll scheme that was created or began prior to 28 February 2020 and fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020. Employees on various contracts will be covered, including those on agency and zero-hour contracts. Connected companies and charities with fewer than 250 PAYE employees on or before 28 February 2020 are also eligible.

To claim under the Scheme, employers should keep records of all SSP they plan to reclaim, with relevant details including reasons and periods of non-working, the details of any SSP qualifying days, and NI numbers of all employees who have been paid SSP. Employers are reminded to keep records of these claims for at least three years after claiming.

The Government has not yet released the online claim service for submitting claims, but will update its guidance here to announce when it is open.

We appreciate that this is a stressful and worrying time for our readers (and for so many), and we do hope that you find the guidance contained in this blog useful. If you are interested in formally engaging the firm and require further tailored advice in relation to what is covered, please contact Amy Wren, Tasneem Bhindarwala, or your usual contact at the firm on +44 (0)20 3375 7000.

Please note that our Employment team is currently experiencing a very high volume of queries in light of the COVID-19 outbreak, which unfortunately means that we are unlikely to be able to respond to informal queries of a more general nature, given the need to prioritise urgent queries from existing or new clients. We hope this blog is, however, helpful in addressing some of those more general queries.

This publication is a general summary of the law. It should not replace legal advice tailored to your specific circumstances.

© Farrer & Co LLP, April 2020

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