Employers advised to be aware of changes to Statutory Sick Pay

Employers need to make sure they are not caught unawares by a change to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which comes into force this month.

From 24 March, as part of the Government’s ‘living with Covid’ policy, current COVID-19 related statutory sick pay (SSP) rules end.

Workers’ right to claim SSP due to sickness or self-isolating from the first day of absence also comes to an end.

The three-day wait for SSP was suspended during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Government saying that employers must pay it from the first qualifying day. The amendment to the SSP rules was made in the Coronavirus Act 2020.

The changes mean that for those that those with Covid will now be treated like any illness, so anyone unwell with the virus will only be paid SSP from the fourth day of their absence.

As mandatory self-isolation has also been ended, the Government is also saying people should now go to work.

Employers are then faced with the decision of whether to choose between letting people with COVID-19 come to workplaces or whether they pay them for being off.

That could cause headaches for employers with the potential for the virus to spread within the workplace and put other workers at risk.

Alternatively, they could put in place their own enhanced scheme, but these are added costs facing employers.

During the pandemic, workers could be entitled to SSP if they could work because they were self-isolating for any of the following reasons:

  • They had coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms or tested positive
  • Someone in their household had symptoms or had tested positive
  • They were told to self-isolate by an NHS test and trace service
  • They had been advised by their doctor to stay at home before going into hospital for surgery

The Government says workers should be paid £96.35 per week SSP if they’re too ill to work. It’s paid by the employer for up to 28 weeks.

Staff cannot get less than the statutory amount but can get more if a company has a sick pay scheme.