HMRC to launch Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

Shaun Davison

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme was announced by the government in the Budget as part of the package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will launch the new online service on 26 May 2020 to enable small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to recover the costs of coronavirus related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) payments they have made to their employees.

This means employers will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness, starting on or after 13 March 2020.

SSP is due to be paid from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth day, up to a maximum of 2 weeks for people who have coronavirus symptoms or cannot work as they have had to self-isolate, in line with official government guidance. From 16 April 2020, SSP can also be claimed for employees who are shielding provided they have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.

The current rate of SSP is £95.85 per week, which increased from £94.25 for the period 13 March 2020 to 5 April 2020. Employers can choose to go further and pay more than the statutory minimum, however, where an employer pays more than the current rate of SSP they will only be able to reclaim the statutory amount.

HMRC have released a useful calculator for employers to check eligibility and work out the amount of SSP.

Eligibility criteria:
- You businesses is UK based
- Your business is a small or medium-sized, employing fewer than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020
- You have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
- You are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus

An employee is eligible if they cannot work because:
- they had coronavirus or the symptoms on or after 13 March 2020; or
- started self-isolating on or after 13 March 2020 because someone they live with has coronavirus; or
- have been shielding since 16 April 2020

Employees do not have to provide you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim, however, you can ask them to give you either:

- an isolation note from NHS 111, if they are self-isolating and cannot work because of coronavirus; or
- a NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks, because they are at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus

The employee will also need to meet the conditions detailed in the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP): employer guide.

Employees who are on furlough leave as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, do not qualify for SSP.

State Aid: Your claim amount should not take you above the state aid limits under the EU Commission temporary framework. This is when combined with other aid received under the framework. The maximum level of state aid that a business may receive is €800,000. There is a lower maximum for agriculture at €100,000 and aquaculture and fisheries at €120,000.

Application process:
- HMRC will launch the online service used to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from 26 May 2020
- You can make a claim on your employer’s PAYE Online service account, logging in using your Government Gateway credentials. If you have not registered online you will need to enrol for the PAYE Online service.
- To prepare to make a claim, you should keep records of all the SSP payments you are eligible to claim for. You will need:
- your employer PAYE scheme reference number
- contact name and phone number of someone HMRC can contact if they have any queries
- the UK bank or building society details the claim will be paid to
- the total amount of coronavirus SSP you have paid to your employees for the claim period (this should not exceed the statutory weekly rate)
- the number of employees you are claiming for
- the start date and end date of the claim period

You can claim for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time.

If you have an accountant or agent who are authorised to access your PAYE Online service, they will be able to make a claim on your behalf.

You must keep records of the SSP that you have paid to your employees and want to reclaim back from HMRC, which should be kept up to 3 years from the date you receive the SSP repayment from HMRC.  

If you have any questions

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