Claim Back Statutory Sick Pay Paid to Employees Due to Coronavirus

To support businesses experiencing increases in costs or financial disruptions, the Government brought forward legislation to allow employers to reclaim statutory sick pay paid to current or former employees for sickness absence due to COVID-19.

If you’re a employer, find out if you can use the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme to claim back employees’ Coronavirus-related statutory sick pay.

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Employees on agency contracts
  • Employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • Fixed-term contracts (until the date their contract ends)
  • Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees was fewer than 250 on 28 February 2020

You can claim back up to 2 weeks of Statutory Sick Pay if:

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
  • 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

Using an agent to do PAYE online

  • If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf. You should speak to your agent about whether they are providing this service
  • If you would like to use an agent, but do not have one authorised to do PAYE online for you, you can do that by accessing your HMRC online services and selecting ‘manage account’
  • You must be enrolled in PAYE online for employers to do this and will need to ask your agent for their agent ID. Your agent can get this from their HMRC online service for agents by selecting ‘authorise client’
  • You can also use this service to remove authorisation from your agent if you do not want it to continue after they have submitted your claims
  • If an agent makes a claim on your behalf, you will need to tell them which bank account you would like the grant to be paid into. You must only provide bank details where a BACS payment can be accepted

What you can claim

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks’ statutory sick pay starting from the first qualifying day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they:

  • Have coronavirus symptoms
  • Are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • Are self-isolating because they’ve been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • Have been advised by letter to shield because they’re clinically extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
  • Have been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery for up to 14 days

You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.

You can claim from the first qualifying day your employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 – if your employee had coronavirus or the symptoms, or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
  • 16 April 2020 – if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus
  • 28 May 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS or public health bodies that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • 26 August 2020 – if your employee has been notified by the NHS to self-isolate before surgery
  • Most people are asked to self-isolate for 3 days before surgery. In this case, the day of surgery will be the 4th day of their period of incapacity for work. You cannot claim repayment of SSP for the day of surgery or any other days when the absence is not due to coronavirus

A ‘qualifying day’ is a day an employee usually works on. The weekly rate was £95.85 before 6 April 2021 and is now £96.35. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of statutory sick pay, you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

From 8 June 2020, some people entering or returning to the UK will be required to quarantine for 14 days. If an employee is unable to work during this period, they will not qualify for statutory sick pay unless they also meet one of the above criteria.

Records you must keep

You must keep the following records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment for your claim:

  • The dates the employee was off sick
  • Which of those dates were qualifying days
  • The reason they said they were off work – if they had symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms or they were shielding
  • The employee’s National Insurance number

You can choose how you keep records of your employees’ sickness absence. HMRC may need to see these records if there’s a dispute over payment of statutory sick pay.

How to claim

You must have paid your employees’ sick pay before you claim it back.

You can claim back coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay using the online service.

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf.

Employers who are unable to claim online should have received a letter on an alternative way to claim. Contact HMRC if you have not received a letter and are unable to make any eligible claims online.

If you’re claiming for wage costs through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time.

If you need further support or advice, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 01249 712074 or email theteam@cvag.co.uk