HMRC have announced that the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will launch online on the 26th May.

The scheme will enable employers with fewer than 250 employees, as at the 28 February 2020, to claim coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the SSP paid to current or former employees.

Employers are eligible to use the scheme if:

  • They are claiming for an employee who’s eligible for sick pay due to coronavirus
  • they had a PAYE payroll scheme in operation before 28 February 2020
  • they had fewer than 250 employees across all PAYE schemes on 28 February 2020
  • they are eligible to receive State Aid under the EU Commission Temporary Framework.

Employees that can be included in the claim

The repayment will cover up to two weeks of the applicable rate of SSP, and is payable if a current or former employee was unable to work on or after 13 March 2020 and was entitled to SSP, because they either:

  • have coronavirus;
  • have coronavirus symptoms;
  • are self-isolating and unable to work from home;
  • cannot work as they are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms;
  • are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.

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
  • 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.

Employers can claim for periods of sickness starting on or after:

  • 13 March 2020 – if your employee had coronavirus, or the symptoms of coronavirus, or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms;
  • 16 April 2020 – if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus.

Making the SSP Claim

The weekly SSP rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. An employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

The claim portal will be available on 26 May 2020. As with the furlough portal, to use the online service you will need the Government Gateway user ID you got when you registered for PAYE Online.

Employers will need:

  • employer PAYE scheme reference number
  • contact name and phone number
  • UK bank or building society details for the Bacs payment to be made
  • the total amount of coronavirus SSP you have paid to your employees for the claim period – this should not exceed the weekly rate that is set
  • the number of employees you are claiming for
  • the start date and end date of the claim period

Employers can claim for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time. The start date of the claim is the start date of the earliest pay period you’re claiming for. The end date of the claim is the end date of the most recent pay period you’re claiming. Claim periods cannot overlap.

Employers must keep the following records:

  • 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

To ensure that HMRC cannot retrospectively challenge any claims made, we recommend that the supporting records should be kept for six closed tax years.

HMRC have also confirmed that Tax Agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers.

If you have any questions about this issue, or any other questions relating to the furloughing scheme or Employment tax issues, please contact a member of Smith Cooper’s Employment Tax team.

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