In the first instance guide – A Guide for employers

If an employee or worker cannot work, they should tell their employer:

  • as soon as possible
  • the reason
  • how long they’re likely to be off for

This is often best to be encouraged in a “not in person form” and creating a clean mechanism for your employees to contact you by phone/text/or email.

After assessing that they are unwell and potentially as a result of the Coronavirus, you should advise the employee to look up more information about Coronavirus at: https://111.nhs.uk/service/COVID-19/ 

Depending on the advice the employee receives from NHS England –

Employees and workers must receive any Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to them if they need to self-isolate because:

  • they have coronavirus
  • they have coronavirus symptoms, for example a high temperature or new continuous cough
  • they’ve been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111

We have put together a guide on how to update Xero payroll and how to add Xero statutory sick pay to payslips. https://www.kentcoastaccounts.co.uk/business-support-announced-in-the-budget-and-statutory-sick-pay-ssp/

Employers currently only have to pay statutory sick pay after the first three days off from work when you normally would have worked. (These are called qualifying days). If you’re eligible, you’ll get SSP for all your qualifying days, except for the first 3. These are called ‘waiting days’. Announced in last weeks budget was plans to move Statutory Sick pay to start from day one as opposed to the fourth day, however this hasn’t been written into legislation yet.

The Government has announced at last weeks budget that a system for refunding Businesses with fewer than 250 employees as at the 28th February 2020 will be entitled to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19. This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19. HMRC is working on building a repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible to provide SSP repayments, however for the meantime – existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP so there will be a requirement to keep good records until HMRC enable the repayment process. We expect that this could take a few months by HMRC’s standards. Employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note.

We will keep you posted as and when we receive further legislative updates.