Understanding statutory sick pay

Statutory sick pay if your employee is off work because of coronavirus

Guide

There is a temporary removal of the three-day waiting period for employees claiming statutory sick pay (SSP). If an employee needs to self-isolate for medical reasons to protect others they will be treated as being ill.

Employees do not need to go to a GP as there is a seven-day allowance for self-declaration.

If the employee cannot work while self-isolating because of coronavirus they could get SSP for every day they are in isolation, from day one. They must self-isolate for at least four days to be eligible.

Employee is self-isolating

You must pay an employee SSP if they are self-isolating and off work for at least 4 days and any of the following apply:

  • they or someone they live with has coronavirus symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • they’ve been notified by the Public Health Agency’s Contact Tracing Service that they’ve been in contact with someone with coronavirus
  • someone in their support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • they’ve been advised by a doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery

You must also pay them SSP if they have a letter advising them to take extra precautions because they’re at very high risk of severe illness from coronavirus, also known as shielding. In most cases, the letter will be from their doctor or Health and Social Care Trust. The letter will say how long the employee should be off work.

You must pay your employee from the first qualifying day they are off work ie a day the employee usually works on. The date will depend on why they’re off work.

You must pay them on or after one of the following dates:

  • 13 March 2020 - if they or someone they live with has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • 16 April 2020 - if your employee is shielding
  • 28 May 2020 - if your employee has been notified by the Public Health Agency’s Contact Tracing Service that they’ve come into contact with someone with coronavirus
  • 6 July 2020 - if someone in their support bubble has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus
  • 5 August 2020 - if your employee is required to self-isolate or required to stay at home after testing positive for coronavirus they are entitled to receive SSP for the full period for which they are required to do so
  • 26 August 2020 - if your employee has been advised by a doctor or healthcare professional to self-isolate before going into hospital for surgery

Reclaiming SSP

You can reclaim up to 2 weeks’ SSP if all of the following apply:

  • your employee was off work because they had coronavirus, were self-isolating or shielding
  • your PAYE payroll scheme started on or before 28 February 2020
  • you had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020

You can reclaim up to £95.85 a week for each employee. You cannot reclaim SSP if your employee is off sick for any other reason.

Check if you can claim back SSP paid to employees due to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Information for employees

See statutory sick pay - employee guidance.