Your employees may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which is up to £96.35 a week for up to 28 weeks.

To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) employees must:

  • Have an employment contract
  • Have done some work under their contract
  • Have been sick for 4 or more days in a row (including non-working days) – known as a ‘period of incapacity for work’
  • Earn an average of at least £120 per week
  • Give you notice and proof of illness when needed

Coronavirus (COVID-19) eligibility; your employees qualify for SSP if they meet the criteria and cannot work if they:

  • Were self-isolating on or after 13 March 2020 because they or someone they live with had COVID-19 or symptoms of COVID-19
  • Started self-isolating on or after 28 May 2020 because they were notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they’ve come into contact with someone with COVID-19
  • Were self-isolating on or after 6 July 2020 because someone in their support bubble (or extended household in Scotland or Wales) but not their own household had symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19
  • Have tested positive for COVID-19 since 5 August 2020
  • Were self-isolating on or after 26 August because they had been advised to do so by a doctor or healthcare professional before going into hospital for surgery
  • Were shielding before: 1 April 2021 in England and Wales, 26 April 2021 in Scotland, 12 April 2021 in Northern Ireland

Employees will not qualify for SSP if they are self-isolating after entering or returning to the UK, and do not need to self-isolate for any other reason. You can find a full list of eligibility and exceptions here.

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.

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)

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

  • You’re claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to Coronavirus (see eligibility above)
  • You have already paid your employee’s sick pay (use the SSP calculator to work out how much to pay)
  • 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

You can currently only claim for employees who were off work on or before 30 September 2021. You will be able to reclaim SSP again from mid-January 2022 for employees who were recently off work because of COVID-19. We will provide further updates when this information is available.

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

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

You can reclaim up to £96.35 a week for each employee.

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

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