Statutory Sick Pay

The measure

Earlier this week, the government announced a widening of the scope of statutory sick pay (SSP) to ensure that it is paid from day one of sickness to individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, rather than day four. It has now been announced that SSP will also be paid to individuals who have been advised to self-isolate in line with government advice.

In addition, the government will provide support for small and medium sized businesses by refunding eligible SSP costs which have to be paid as a consequence of COVID-19. The criteria are:

  • The refund will be limited to two weeks per employee;
  • It will apply only where the employer has fewer than 250 employees as at 28 February 2020;
  • SSP must be paid as a result of COVID-19;
  • Records of absence should be maintained but employees should not be required to provide a GP fit note.

There is no mechanism currently in place to facilitate such refunds, but the government will work with employers to set this up as soon as possible.


Who will be affected?

Employers with fewer than 250 employees on 28 February will benefit from these refund arrangements.


When will the measure come into effect?

The refund arrangements will come into force at the same time as the Regulations providing that the payment of SSP will be extended to those employees who have been advised to self-isolate. 

Our view

This measure is a welcome help for small and medium sized employers to assist with the cost of paying statutory sick pay as a result of COVID-19.