When is SSP Due?
- Despite announcements made in the budget, legislation hasn’t changed yet so technically employers should follow existing SSP legislation. Next week the new COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency bill will go through parliament and put in place the changes announced in the budget. Only then will be know when the new rules will be implemented.
- SSP is due when under self-isolation (even if they have no symptoms) and when caring for someone else under self-isolation.
- For coronavirus related absence SSP will kick in from the first day of absence removing the usual 3 waiting days.
What Paperwork is Needed?
Government has already issued guidance to employers to use their discretion when requiring a GP fit note for employees impacted. There will be implementing a temporary fit note for COVID-19 which will be issued by the 111 helpline and taking pressure of GP surgeries. More detail will be known once the COVID-19 bill has been passed.
Who’s Covering the Cost?
Some employers will be able to claim up to 2 weeks of SSP back from the government. It is currently unclear how this will be processed, the government have advised that guidance on this will be given in the coming months. This will only be available to employers with less than 250 employees as of 28th February 2020. Larger employers will have to fund SSP themselves.
The government have put a number of measures to assist business impacted by COVID-19;
- Break in business rates for retail, leisure and hospitality sectors for 2020-21.
- £3,000 grant for businesses eligible for Small Business Rate Relief.
- Government guarantee to banks to enable ‘Business Interruption Loan Scheme’
- COVID-19 specific helpline with HMRC to allow ‘time to pay’ for payments due to HMRC for businesses impacted by the Coronavirus.
What about Company Shutdown?
Under circumstances where the employer chooses to force employees to have time off the situation becomes a little more complicated and will depend on the employment contract in place. Some employers may have the ability to put employees on lay-offs or short time working. Other circumstances may require employers to pay employees full pay during company shutdown. We recommend employers seek professional HR advice when approaching situations like this.