The government has introduced two changes to the Statutory Sick Pay scheme in the last few days.
Firstly, last Friday 17th December, it was announced that, to assist GP surgeries roll out the vaccine booster, that employees could self-certify for absences up to 28 days, rather than the usual 7 days. Only if an absence extends beyond 28 days will a GP’s certificate be required.
This is a temporary change applying to absences commencing after 10th December and will apply to all absences starting on or before 26th January 2022. Unless the temporary provision is extended, an employee will again be required to submit a medical certificate to explain absences lasting more than 7 days for any absence starting on or after 27th January 2022.
Then, just yesterday, it was announced that the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRP) was being reintroduced, to allow employers can claim back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in some circumstances where the absence is related to covid-19.
Under the Scheme employers with fewer than 250 employees can claim back from HMRC up to 2 weeks sick pay for each employee for Covid-19 related absence, which could be due either to sickness or to a requirement to self-isolate.
The scheme, which had come to an end on 30th September 2021, will be reintroduced so that employers can claim for COVID-related sickness absences occurring from 21 December 2021 onwards.
This two-week limit per employee will be reset so that an employer will be able to claim up to two weeks per employee regardless of whether they claimed for that employee when the scheme was previously in operation.
Claims will be able to be made from mid-January onwards.
Employers should keep the following records for 3 years if making a claim under the SSPRS:-
- The dates of absence
- Which of those dates were qualifying days for SSP
- The covid-19 related reason for the absence
- The employee’s National Insurance number
Further guidance is to be published by the government, including information as to how long the SSPRP will run for.