Follow below a Government announcement in regards to the Statutory Sick pay and
Employment and Support Allowance.
Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
• For businesses with fewer than 250 employees, the cost of providing 2 weeks of
COVID-19 related statutory sick pay per employee will be refunded by the government
in full. HMRC will provide further details in due course on how employers can access the rebate.

Meanwhile, if you are an employer and have any employee that has been advised by NHS111 to stay home and self-isolate – you have the following options:

• offer the employee the option to work from home (if this is possible)

• offer employee to pay this week (weeks) as Holiday pay – therefore – their holiday
entitlement for the year will be reduced by the number of days (weeks) used in this situation
• offer employees to receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) – which in this case will be calculated from day 1 instead of 4th day. The Sick Pay is currently £94.25/week and will increase to £95.85/week from 01/04/2020. In this way, employees will not use their holidays entitlement.

Note that generally the Sick Pay is an employer cost and is not refundable by the government. Due to the current situation, as the government promised – employers will be able to receive a refund for a maximum of 2 weeks of Sick Pay per employee.
HMRC will advise us how this can be claimed in a few weeks’ time. Please keep records of each employee’s absence due to COVID-19.

At the moment NHS is not able to provide a sick note for each case of self-isolation, so the UK Government is asking all employers to use their discretion not to require a GP fit note for COVID-19 related absences. The government and the NHS will bring forward a temporary alternative to the fit note in the coming weeks which can be used for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak. This system will enable people who are advised toself-isolate to obtain a notification via NHS111 which they can use as evidence for absence from work, where necessary. This notification would meet employers’ need for evidence, whilst taking pressure away from General Practices.

Support for those ineligible for SSP
The government recognises that self-employed people and employees below the Lower Earnings Limit are not entitled to SSP. The best system of financial support for these people is the welfare system and, in particular, ‘new style’ Employment and Support Allowance and Universal Credit. The government is committed to supporting these groups, and the Budget announces further support by making it quicker and easier toreceive benefits:

  • ‘New style’ Employment and Support Allowance will be payable for people directly
    affected by COVID-19 or self-isolating according to government advice for from the first
    day of sickness, rather than the eighth day
  • people will be able to claim Universal Credit and access advance payments where
    they are directly affected by COVID-19 (or self-isolating), without the current
    requirement to attend a jobcentre
  • for the duration of the outbreak, the requirements of the minimum income floor in
    Universal Credit will be temporarily relaxed for those directly affected by COVID-19 or
    self-isolating according to government advice for duration of the outbreak, ensuring self-
    employed claimants will be compensated for losses in income.
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