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Sick Pay

As of 13 March 2020, employees and workers who are required to self-isolate due to developing Coronavirus – or indeed showing symptoms – must receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) from their employer from day one of being absent from work.

Some employers are eligible to claim back up to 2 weeks’ SSP they’ve paid to any employee due to this ruling. All your questions relating to Sick Pay are answered below.

Our FAQs are for general guidance only, and do not constitute and should not be relied upon, as legal advice. Every business and challenge is different. If you are an employer and your business needs specific support and advice for your unique context please contact us at legal@lexleyton.co.uk

Last update: 26/06/2020 – 13.20

New, emergency legislation in force as of Friday 13 March 2020 has extended the definition of those eligible for SSP to include those people ‘self-isolating’ due to Coronavirus.

SSP is now available for anyone that isolates themselves from other people “in such a manner as to prevent infection or contamination with coronavirus disease, in accordance with guidance published by Public Health England, NHS National Services Scotland or Public Health Wales and effective from 12th March 2020.”  In addition, that person must be unable to work by reason of that isolation.

For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they do not need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence.

Where this is related to having symptoms of coronavirus or living with someone who has symptoms, an isolation note should be used to provide evidence of the advice to self-isolate. From Friday 20 March in the evening, the notes should be available through the NHS website and NHS 111 online and will be sent to the employee via email.

Yes. Payment of SSP from day one applies to employees who are incapable, or are deemed to be incapable, of doing work by reason of Coronavirus.

SSP is paid at £95.85 per week for up to 28 weeks, and is – in normal circumstances – only paid from the fourth day of sickness.
Employers should ensure that if an employee is entitled to any company sick pay, this should include an element in respect of SSP.

For the first seven days off work, employees can self-certify so they do not need any evidence for their employer. After that, employers may ask for evidence of sickness absence.

On Friday 20th March, the Government announced that isolation notes should be available through the NHS website and NHS 111 online and will be sent to the employee via email.

Yes. This extra assistance from the Government is one of the emergency measures put in place due to the current crisis.

Government guidance confirms that the rules on ‘connected companies’ will apply to the SSP rebate scheme. This will, put simply, aggregrate the employees within a group structure where the source of control over the companies within the group is the same.

Workers are eligible for SSP as long as they earn over the Lower Earnings Limit of £120 per week based on the eight weeks prior to absence.

This will depend on your company sick pay policy. However, if an employee is eligible for SSP they tend also to be eligible for company sick pay.

It is absolutely possible for a company to do so, based on the overarching duty of care on a company to protect the health and safety of its employees. It is important to note that the current pandemic is extremely serious, as s highlighted by the exceptional responses that the Government has deployed.

However, it is prudent to remember that some employees may seek to exploit such an approach in order to benefit from several weeks away from work and on full pay. It would be wise to approach this on a case by case basis.

The statutory definition of medical suspension is very limited and does not currently extend to Coronavirus. If an employee falls within the definition of being in isolation for Coronavirus for the purposes of SSP, it is likely that they would be considered to be sick and therefore eligible for sick pay (either company sick pay or SSP only). If they do not fall within that definition, they should receive full pay unless their contract of employment states otherwise.

Access the guidance on this topic