UK SSP Updates due to COVID-19
On March 11, Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered a new £12 billion plan to combat the Coronavirus. This includes temporary changes to SSP legislation and support for employers. Here’s what bureaux, employers and employees need to know.
What’s changed with SSP due to COVID-19?
Under the previous legislation, employees had to wait three days before they were eligible to start receiving SSP. The new changes as of March 13 ensure that employees can receive SSP from day 1 (meaning no waiting period of the usual 3 days).
What else do we know about SSP and Coronavirus?
The government is supporting small and medium-sized businesses to cope with the extra costs of paying early SSP due to COVID-19.
- Up to 2 weeks of COVID-19 SSP can be claimed by an employer IF they had fewer than 250 employees on their payroll on 28th Feb 2020
- Those self isolating are entitled to COVID-19 SSP
- If an employee has already had the maximum of 28 weeks SSP they will NOT be entitled to COVID SSP
- COVID-19 is not deemed as a pregnancy related illness so will NOT require SMP to be started early where the employee is off sick and receiving COVID SSP
- For employees, a self isolation note is available via NHS website - employers are being asked to be lenient in this scenario to stop workers coming into work while ill to ensure an income
- An employee only needs to have symptoms and does not actually have to have coronavirus.
- Employers will claim back the payment for COVID-19 SSP as a standalone claim and not via payroll software. The HMRC is creating a website for claims that will be launched by the end of April
- Currently COVID-19 SPP is available for claims between 13/3/20 - 12/11/20; although these dates can be changed if necessary
- If an employee is subsequently off sick due to an unrelated sickness - and this is a linked period of sickness for SSP purposes, then they do NOT have to serve 3 waiting days
- Employees are entitled for COVID-19 SSP if they meet the average weekly earnings test of above the LEL of £120 for the 20/21 tax year
SSP: Best practice for payroll during COVID-19
Employers are being told to review their current payroll solution - this may be the time to switch to a software platform that can facilitate the new temporary SSP entitlements, like KeyPay.
KeyPay allows you to overwrite the number of ‘waiting days’ and therefore KeyPay users can easily navigate COVID-19 related SSP payments with no issue or updates to software required. Some other softwares may have to release a patch to cover this.
For KeyPay users, we suggest a note is applied against the SSP payment to highlight COVID-19 applicable.
More information on Statutory Sick Pay can be found here.
Read our guide on how to manage SSP for COVID-19 purposes.