SSP is the minimum amount of sick pay that an employer must pay to employees who are unable to work due to illness. The amount payable to eligible employees is currently £96.35 per week and is paid for up to 28 weeks. Some employers have their own company sick pay scheme, and therefore may pay more than SSP. Due to the pandemic, there are some temporary changes to the statutory sick pay regulations.
From 10th December 2021 until 26th January 2022, a fit note is not required for SSP unless an employee is off work for more than 28 days. The reason for this temporary change brought in by the government, is to encourage employers to help reduce the demand for fit notes in general practice, in order to allow GPs to prioritise the coronavirus booster programme that is currently being rolled out. You should explain to your employees what the changes are and ask them to adhere to your reporting procedures (self-certification forms/notifications). You might want to remind them that the changes are only temporary – after 26th January 2022, they must provide those fit notes after 7 days of absence.
Furthermore, you may be eligible to use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay. More guidance will be available shortly. As an employer, you can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if: you have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay), you’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus, you have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020, you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020 across all your PAYE payroll schemes.
Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But 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 (COVID-19) or a ‘shielding note’ or a letter from their doctor or health authority advising them to shield because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus. The scheme covers all types of employment contracts.