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The Government has reintroduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and made some temporary changes to the sickness absence reporting regulations, which may affect your payroll processes.
Introduced to support businesses facing higher than expected absences due to the new Omicron variant, the new rules are likely to affect a wide range of employers.
What is the temporary change to reporting sickness absence for SSP?
Under the previous rules, employees could self-certify their sickness absence for seven days without having to provide you with medical evidence, such as a fit note from a GP.
However, for absences beginning on or after 10 December 2021 up to and including 26 January 2022 employees are permitted to self-certify their sickness absence for 28 days without having to provide evidence.
This is only a temporary measure to reduce pressure on the NHS and assist employees. After this date, normal rules apply again.
An employee is self-isolating, do the same rules apply?
If an employee is self-isolating, then they will need to obtain an isolation note using the NHS 111 service. This may be required to provide evidence for their absence such as proof of a positive test result or need to self-isolate, as per the current regulations.
Has anything changed to the SSP Rebate Scheme?
The SSP Rebate Scheme was first introduced under the first lockdown but ended last year.
However, it has since been reintroduced with effect from 21st December 2021 to assist businesses affected by the current Omicron outbreak in the UK.
The Scheme allows employers to apply to HMRC to recover up to two weeks’ SSP for each eligible employee for absences related to COVID-19. This is available to all employees, even if an employer has previously used the scheme to cover similar absences.
To qualify for the SSP Rebate Scheme:
- Your business must have less than 250 employees (as of 30th November 2021)
- Your business must be based in the UK
- The employee must be on sick leave for COVID-19 related reasons
- The employee qualifies for and has been paid COVID-19 related, SSP
- Your PAYE payroll scheme was created or started on or before 30th November 2021
Your payroll processes must be up to date to account for these changes. To find out how we can assist you, please contact us.