The government scheme to claim back employees’ coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now open. Here’s our guide to making a claim:
Who is the scheme for?
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme has been set up to repay employers Statutory Sick Pay paid to current or former employees.
You can use the scheme as an employer if:
- 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
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.
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)
- the NHS or GP letter telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks because they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
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)
The government will inform employers when the scheme will end.
What you can claim
The repayment will cover up to two weeks Statutory Sick Pay starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they:
- have coronavirus symptoms
- cannot work because they are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms
- are shieldingand have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks
You can claim for periods of sickness starting 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
The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. 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.
The government website has a SSP calculator to work out the actual amount.
Important records to keep
You must keep records of Statutory Sick Pay that you’ve paid and want to claim back from HMRC.
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 SSP.
You’ll need to print or save your state aid declaration (from your claim summary) and keep this until 31 December 2024.
How to claim
- Use the online service.
- If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they can claim on your behalf.
- Employers unable to claim should now have received a letter with an alternative way to claim.
What you’ll need
- the number of employees you are claiming for
- start and end dates of your claim period
- the total amount of coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay you have paid to your employees for the claim period – this should not exceed the weekly rate of SSP that is set
- your Government Gateway user ID and password that you got when you registered for PAYE Online – if you do not have this find out how to get your lost user ID
- your employer PAYE reference number
- the contact name and phone number of someone we can contact if we have queries
- your UK bank or building society account details (only provide account details where a Bacs payment can be accepted) including:
- bank or building society account number (and roll number if it has one)
- sort code
- name on the account
- your address linked to your bank or building society account
What happens next?
- Your claim will be checked, and if valid, paid into the account you supplied within 6 working days.
- HMRC will check claims and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate. Where employers knowingly and deliberately provide false or misleading information to benefit from the claim, HMRC will apply penalties of up to £3000.
For more information visit the government guidance at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19