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How to claim back coronavirus SSP with the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

3-minute read

Sam Bromley

21 May 2020

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The government’s Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme opens on 26 May – get all the details here.

In March, the government changed SSP rules as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The new rules mean that an employee can receive SSP if they have coronavirus symptoms, are self-isolating because someone they live with has coronavirus, or they’re shielding.

Your employees can also get SSP from day one of being off work, rather than day four.

Following these changes, the government announced the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme, which lets small businesses claim back up to two weeks of SSP paid.

Am I eligible for the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme?

You can use the scheme if you’re a small business with employees claiming SSP because of coronavirus. According to gov.uk, you need to:

  • have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
  • have had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020

There are different eligibility dates depending on the reasons an employee is off. You can claim for periods of sickness starting from:

  • 13 March 2020 for employees off work with coronavirus symptoms, or off work because they’re self-isolating
  • 16 April 2020 for employees off work because they’re shielding (these employees need to have a letter from the GP or NHS telling them they need to stay at home for at least 12 weeks)

The weekly SSP rate was £94.25 in 2019-20 and changed to £95.85 on 6 April 2020. You can use the government’s SSP calculator to work out how much to pay an employee.

If you’ve topped up an employee’s sick pay payments, you can only claim back the standard SSP rate.

Read more about the SSP rate, including eligibility and form SSP1.

What types of contracts are covered?

The scheme covers employees on all types of contracts, including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • employees on agency contracts
  • employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts

Can employees on furlough claim SSP?

The government says that employers can furlough an employee who’s been told to shield and isn’t able to work from home. Furloughed employees can’t then claim SSP.

If you don’t furlough an employee who’s been told to shield, they’ll receive up to two weeks of SSP from 16 April.

Read more about furloughing employees (the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme).

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Claim back coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay: three-step guide

1. Claim back Statutory Sick Pay through PAYE Online

You can apply for the SSP rebate online from 26 May, using the Government Gateway user ID you got when registering for PAYE Online.

If you haven’t registered for PAYE Online (likely because you didn’t register as an employer online), then you’ll need to enrol.

If you’ve authorised someone to do PAYE online for you, they can claim on your behalf. And if you’ve lost your Government Gateway user ID, you can retrieve it here.

2. Get your documents together

Gov.uk says that you need:

  • your employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • contact details so HMRC can get in touch if they have any questions
  • your bank (if Bacs payment can be accepted) or building society details
  • the total coronavirus SSP you’ve paid (this can’t exceed the weekly rate)
  • the number of employees you’re claiming for
  • the start date and end date of the claim period

You can claim for multiple employees and pay periods. The start date of your claim is the start of the earliest pay period you’re claiming for. The end date is the end of the most recent pay period.

3. Keep your records

It’s important to keep accurate records of sickness and SSP paid, because HMRC might ask to see them if there’s a dispute.

Gov.uk says you need to keep records for three years after you receive your payment. These include:

  • the dates an employee was off
  • which of those were ‘qualifying days’ (essentially the days your employee is contracted to work)
  • why your employee was off (whether they had coronavirus symptoms, someone they lived with had symptoms, or they were shielding)
  • the employee’s National Insurance number

Are you eligible for any other coronavirus support?

Use our eligibility checker to find out whether you’re eligible for any further coronavirus support from the government.

You can also have a look at our coronavirus support hub, which includes practical information to help you through these challenging times.

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We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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