Following the government’s recent pledge that Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be payable from day one for employees suffering from COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or required to self-isolate, it was a relief to hear measures in yesterday’s budget to support small businesses with this.

A summary of the measures announced in respect of SSP are as follows:

  • Any employee diagnosed with COVID-19 or required to self-isolate will be entitled to SSP from day one of their absence from work
  • Employees will not be required to get a fit note from their doctor to qualify for SSP in these circumstances. However, there are plans for NHS 111 to provide alternative proof for employers who require it.
  • Employers with less than 250 employees will be able to reclaim up to 2 weeks’ SSP for each employee who qualifies as above.
  • Employers will need to keep records of staff absences.
  • The system for employers to reclaim the SSP will be developed over the coming months

The contribution to the cost of sick pay will be welcome to many small employers. However, the current rate of SSP (£94.25) will be a small proportion of normal pay for many people and some companies may want to support their employees to a greater extent.

In this case, we would recommend informing employees at an early stage what sick pay they can expect, should they be required to self-isolate.  This will help alleviate any anxiety and also encourage people to take the recommended steps to avoid further spread of the virus.

In these circumstances, the business will be still be able to reclaim the amount of sick pay equivalent to SSP.

Businesses should continue to keep themselves informed of the latest advice from the government and Public Health England.