The Government has announced that the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will be closed. This means employers won’t be able claim back any statutory sick pay (SSP), paid to employees absent for Covid-19-related reasons.
This temporary scheme was created to assist small and medium-sized employers who are experiencing a higher level of sick absences due to Covid-19. Employers could claim back up 2 weeks of SSP paid by the Scheme to their employees.
To be eligible, an employer must be located in the UK, have less than 250 employees, and have a PAYE payroll system as of 30/11/2021. Although the employee was not required to have been positive for Covid-19, they had to be absent from work due to Covid-19. The NHS may have sent an employee to self-isolate, but they may not have given a positive Covid-19 test.
For coronavirus-related absences that begin after 17 March, the SSPRS will be removed. Employers will have 24 March to file any new claims or amend their existing ones. The pre-pandemic arrangements will return, removing employees’ right to SSP starting on the first day of absence. This will also mark the end of SSP in the case of asymptomatic workers. This is part of the “Living with Covid” plan, announced at last week’s start.
The Federation of Small Businesses (Federation of Small Businesses) and the Trades Union Congress jointly called for the UK Chancellor’s permanent financial assistance for small and medium-sized businesses. They also asked him to expand the support to all sickness absences, not just those related to Covid-19. The two organizations wrote an open letter to Rishi sunak asking the Government to “review the issue” in light of “new awareness” about the importance of protecting workers’ health.
The UK will be moving to Covid. It might say goodbye to the Statutory sick pay Rebate Scheme, but it’s ‘hello!’ to a new way to look at the role and impact of statutory sickness pay on the UK’s workforce’s health.