Are You Prepared For The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Scheme To End?

The UK Government’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme came to an end on 30th September 2021, alongside the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme.

The sick pay rebate scheme was part of UK-wide coronavirus response measures to keep the lights on in for medium and small businesses during the pandemic. These financial support packages for employers were designed to bear some the economic shock of the health crisis and retain jobs and business continuity during the crisis.

Under the scheme, from March 13 2020, payroll teams have been able to claim the full amount of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid to those employees absent from work because of Covid-19.

Businesses were able to claim up to two weeks covid-19 SSP for employees from then until 30 September 2021, when the scheme came to end.

Returning to employer SSP responsibilities

The move signals a desire for the country to return to normal working practice, yet many businesses remain nervous about managing business finances in the weeks and months ahead. Many fear the colder weather could see a spike in covid-19 cases in the workplace, leading to a spike in SSP costs.

Spiralling Long Covid-19 staff sickness costs also remains a concern for small businesses as they manage their payroll obligations. A recent study highlights that over a third of those who contracted coronavirus – around 2 million people – reported symptoms that lasting at least 3 months. According to the Office of National Statistics, around 643,000 UK citizens are estimated to be suffering from activity limiting long Covid-19 symptoms.

Prior to the health crisis, businesses were obliged to pay sick employees who were unable to work SSP at a rate of £96.35 per week. Employers bear this cost for up to a period of 28 weeks, when entitlements run out.

For now, the usual 3-day period where SSP wouldn’t be paid in first days of absence from work hasn’t been reinstated, making SSP obligations more expensive for businesses than they were pre-health crisis.

The three-day waiting period was removed to encourage people with Covid-19 to remain at home in quarantine instead of travelling to work for economic reasons. There is some uncertainty around whether this will be reinstated during what looks to be an uncertain winter.

The deadline for claiming

Now that the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme has ended, payroll teams will no longer be able to bill HMRC for employees absent from work due to Covid-19.

Payroll providers are reminded that the deadline for submitting a claim under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay scheme is 31 December 2021, for all eligible cases during the period March 13 2020 until 30 September 2021.

I’m a payroll services provider – how do I submit a claim?

As you’d expect, there are some essential administrative requirements and records to maintain for payroll professionals submitting claims under the scheme to HMRC.

These include the following:

National Insurance (NI) number for every employee you are submitting a claim for.
Dates of sick leave absences, including start dates and end dates.
You must state the reason why the team member was absent.
The qualifying dates that the team member was absent.

Outsourced payroll management

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