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It has been very hard to think of anything other than COVID for the last couple of months, but it feels like we are reaching a point where we can start to plan for the year ahead, from a financial perspective anyway. This knowledge bite will focus on claiming back Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which you are now able to do so. Below are a few questions and answers following discussions with our clients:

What are we able to reclaim for absence due to COVID-19?

You can reclaim up to 2 weeks’ SSP (up to £95.85 a week for each employee) if your employee was off work because they had coronavirus or were self-isolating. Any further sick absence due to COVID-19 will be paid to the employee as an expense to the practice, without reimbursement. You are not able to reclaim SSP if your employee is off sick for any other reason.

What is the “qualifying period” I can claim?

SSP is paid when the employee is sick for at least 4 days in a row (including non-working days). From 13 March 2020 you start paying SSP from the first ‘qualifying day’ an employee is off work if they are off for at least 4 days in a row. If an employee was off sick with coronavirus symptoms before 13 March, you start paying SSP from the fourth qualifying day. Employees who were self-isolating before 13 March because someone they live with had symptoms only qualify for SSP from 13 March.

From 16 April 2020, you start paying SSP from the first qualifying day an employee is off work. You do not pay SSP for any shielding that took place before 16 April 2020.

What documentation do I need to keep a record of?

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 or 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. You must keep all records for 3 years after the date you receive the payment.

As always, any employment law matters should be discussed with your approved HR provider or ACAS (0300 123 1100), if none in place.

How do I make a claim?  

You must have paid your employees’ sick pay before you claim it back and be enrolled in PAYE online for employers to make the claim.  If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf.

If you manage your payroll internally, please click here in order to make the claim. You will need your Government Gateway user ID and password that you got when you registered for PAYE Online. If you do not have this click here to find out how to get your lost ID.

Our view

The reibmursement is very much welcomed indeed and clients should maintain complete records of claims in the event of an enquiry. On a separate note, for all individuals (self employed, directors and employees) that are sheilding and or self isolating, it is recommended that you keep detailed records of time spent at home throughout this period to ensure that your use of home claims are accurate and complete, as these will be tax deductible. Additionally, further tax relief is available on additional costs incurred as a result i.e. new IT equipment, desk, software etc, so please do keep detailed records of this expenditure.  

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