Statutory Sick Pay for Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The government has confirmed that it will temporarily extend SSP to cover:

  • individuals who are unable to work because they are following  guidance published by Public Health England, NHS Scotland or Public Health Wales to self-isolate
  • people caring for those within the same household who display COVID-19 symptoms and have been advised to self-isolate

The legislation to do this has come into effect from today.

Other changes announced were that  that SSP entitlement for these cases will commence from day 1, rather than day 4 and the government will support small and medium-sized businesses and employers to cope with the extra costs of paying COVID-19 related SSP by refunding eligible SSP costs.

The eligibility criteria are  as follows:

  • this refund will be limited to two weeks per employee;
  • employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible*. (eligibility will be based on number of employees on 28th February 2020)
  • employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19;
  • employers should maintain records of staff absences, but should not require employees to provide a GP fit note;

As far as I am aware, the legislation making SSP apply from day 1 rather than day 4 for Coronavirus SSP is still waited, and the government has advised they will work with employers over the coming months to set up a repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

National Minimum Wage and Living Wage Rises

Ensure you are in line with changes to the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage as it has been confirmed that they will rise as follows from 1 April 2020.

  • 25 and over £8.72
  • 21 – 24 £8.20
  • 18 – 20 £6.45
  • Under 18 £4.55
  • Apprentice £4.15

Neonatal Leave and Pay

As well as the Parental Bereavement Leave previously mentioned (see below) the government has also announced that it will create a new neonatal leave and pay entitlement for working parents

The benefit will be applicable to employees whose babies spend an extended period of time in neonatal care. It will provide up to 12 weeks paid leave so that parents do not have to choose between returning to work and taking care of their vulnerable newborn. It will be paid at the same statutory rate as for other types of family leave, currently £148.68 for the year 2019/20, rising to £151.20 from 5 April 2020 however it is not yet clear when the new leave will apply from.