Introduced in May 2020, the scheme enables small and medium sized businesses to reclaim statutory sick pay (SSP) paid to an employee in respect of the first two weeks of a coronavirus related sickness absence.
The government scheme enabling small businesses to recoup statutory sick pay costs due to coronavirus will end at the end of the month, and any outstanding claims must be made by 31 December 2021.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic employers were obliged to pay statutory sick pay (SSP) to eligible employees unable to work because of sickness. It is paid at a flat rate of £96.35 (at the current rate) for up to 28 weeks. The full cost of SSP is met by the employer.
To support employers during the pandemic the government legislated to allow certain small and medium size employers to reclaim some, or all, of their SSP costs from HMRC via the SSPRS.
Under the new regulations, employers will not be able to reclaim SSP from 30 September 2021 and any claims relating to periods prior to that date must have been filed by 31 December 2021.
It would appear that the suspension of the requirement to wait for three days before SSP is paid has not yet been repealed. The three-day rule was suspended temporarily during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis to encourage people to stay at home as soon as they felt ill.
This effect is that SMEs must continue to pay SSP from the first day an employee is unable to work, making SSP more expensive than it was before the pandemic. The Tax Faculty awaits clarification on this point.
Employers still have until 31 December 2021 to make a claim for repayment of SSP paid during periods up to and including 30 September 2021 if:
• They are claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
• Have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
• Employed fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
To check your eligibility to make a claim please visit: Check if you can claim back Statutory Sick Pay paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk).
With the coronavirus not looking to disappear from our daily life anytime soon and financial support from the government coming to an end, many employers will be concerned about the continuing financial impact on their business and employees.
If you would like to discuss the ending of the government schemes, any workplace Covid or non-covid related issue and how it may affect you or if you wish to discuss any other topic, please contact us.