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SSP changes to support employees, benefit claimants and businesses whilst off with Coronavirus

Client Support
Hannah Dumenil
16/03/2020
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Following the recent announcements in the Budget, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is making temporary arrangements to support those impacted by Coronavirus. 

The measures are aimed at helping employees to ensure they don’t lose out financially where they are asked to stay at home to protect others in the workplace.

SSP is currently £94.25 per week rising to £95.85 from 6 April 2020. SSP will now also be extended on a temporary basis to cover individuals who are not ill, but are unable to work because they have been advised to self-isolate in line with Government guidance. For those individuals affected by COVID-19, SSP will be payable from day one instead of day four, and DWP have confirmed SSP from day one is with effect from 13th March 2020. Any sickness prior to this date in respect to COVID-19 will not be eligible to be paid from day one.

Those who are advised to self-isolate due to COVID-19 are now asked not to go to the doctors, but to get a fit note from NHS111. This can then be used by employees where employers require evidence. Further details to be confirmed.

For self-employed claimants on Universal Credit who are required to stay at home or are ill as a result of Coronavirus, they will not have a Minimum Income Floor (an assumed level of income) applied for a period of time while affected.

The Budget also announced the government plans to help small and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 250 employees to cope with the extra costs of paying Coronavirus-related SSP by refunding eligible SSP costs.

DWP have confirmed businesses will receive up to 2 weeks SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19, with the size of an employer determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020.

Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note. As Statutory Sick Pay will be payable to people who are staying at home on government advice, employers are urged to use their discretion about what evidence, if any, they ask for.

As this is a temporary measure in response to COVID-19, software providers have not been asked to update software, and the government will be working with employers over the coming months to set up the required payment mechanisms.

If you have any questions or concerns in relation to SSP, please do not hesitate to contact our Head of Payroll, Hannah Dumenil on hannah.dumenil@rickardluckin.co.uk

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