The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS), which ended on 30 September 2021, was reintroduced from 21 December 2021, with employers able to make retrospective claims from mid-January. The scheme’s return is in response to heightened levels of staff sickness due to the Covid-19 Omicron variant.
Statutory sick pay is not normally recoverable, but the SSPRS means that small and medium-sized businesses can reclaim SSP paid to employees affected by Covid-19.
What is covered?
The SSPRS only covers Covid-related absences (someone who has symptoms, is self-isolating or is shielding) for up to two weeks of SSP for each employee. The rate of SSP is currently £96.35 a week.
The two-week limit has, however, been reset, so an employer can make a fresh claim of up to two weeks regardless of whether a claim was made under the previous scheme. More than one claim can be made for an employee, subject to the two-week maximum.
There are no details indicating when the SSPRS will end, although the government will keep the scheme under review.
The most important condition is that the SSPRS is only available to employers with fewer than 250 employees. This test must be met on 30 November 2021. The employer must also:
- Be UK based;
- Have a PAYE payroll system that started on or before 30 November 2021; and
- Have already paid the employee’s Covid-related sick pay.
To make a claim, an employer will need the Government Gateway login used when they registered for PAYE Online.
Employers must retain records of any SSP they have claimed back under the SSPRS for three years from the date repayment is received.
The records should include the reason an employee said they were off work due to Covid-19. Employees are now able to temporarily self-certify absences for 28 days, rather than the usual first seven days only.
Further guidance and the starting point for making a claim under the SSPRS can be found here.