The government has announced this week that the statutory sick pay (SSP) rebate scheme will end on 24 March 2022 as part of its “Living with covid plan”. The scheme was reintroduced to assist small businesses and their employees to cover sickness absences arising due to covid over the period from 21 December 2021 up to 17 March 2022.
To meet the scheme criteria:
- The employer must have fewer than 250 employees.
- The employee must be off due to covid for at least 4 days in a row (including any of their usual non-working days) over the timeframe specified.
- the employee must have had coronavirus symptoms; or
- the employee must have tested positive for coronavirus; or
- someone in the employee’s household must have had coronavirus symptoms; or
- someone in the employee’s household must have tested positive for coronavirus; or
- the employee must have been told to self-isolate by an NHS test and trace service; or
- the employee must have been advised by their doctor to stay at home before going to hospital for surgery.
Qualifying employees are entitled to be paid SSP as a minimum for every day they are off work sick, starting from day 1, instead of having to wait for the standard fourth qualifying day.
Qualifying employers can claim back up to two weeks’ SSP per affected employee provided they submit their claims by no later than 24 March 2022. Thereafter, the normal SSP rules will return, with small businesses only having to pay SSP for sickness absence from the fourth qualifying day their employee is off work regardless of the reason.