Statutory Sick Pay

Statutory Sick Pay

Updated 18 March 2020

The Chancellor confirmed the amendment previously announced by the Prime Minister on 4 March 2020 (, that the requirement for three waiting days is to be suspended allowing SSP to be paid from the first day of absence as an emergency measure following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19).

In addition, the Chancellor has added a range of temporary measures in respect of SSP to respond to the outbreak. These measures will lapse when they are no longer required. The precise date of implementation will be included in the forthcoming COVID-19 Bill. The full list of measures is:

  • employees who have been advised to self-isolate as a result of coronavirus will be eligible to receive SSP from day one rather than day four as would be the case under normal rules. This will apply even in cases where the employee has not yet presented with symptoms;
  • employees caring for those within the same household who display symptoms of coronavirus and have been advised to self-isolate will also be eligible to receive SSP from day one, rather than day four;
  • notifications will be issued to employees via NHS111 confirming advice to self-isolate, which can be used as an alternative to medical evidence for absence from work, removing the need for employees to see a doctor or to attend GP surgeries to obtain a fit note;
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees (as at 28 February 2020) will be eligible to reclaim 100% of the SSP paid as a result of COVID-19 for the first two weeks per employee.

The overall picture is that many more employees are likely to be either sick or self-isolating as a result of COVID-19. These measures will mean that those employees will qualify for SSP sooner than they otherwise would, and that the process for claiming will be simpler.

The Budget 2020 announced SSP help for self employed with further details to be announced.

For businesses with less than 250 employees the cost of statutory sick pay for up to 14 days will be refunded by the government in full. HMRC asked to scale up time to pay.

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About the author

Richard Hayward is a WardWilliams partner who advise clients of the latest rules and regulations.