Coronavirus: Advice for Employers and Employees

Statutory Sick Pay

Temporary changes to SSP eligibility as part of coronavirus containment strategy announced by the Government on 4th March 2020

The Government announced that it will bring forward emergency legislation temporarily amending the eligibility requirements for statutory sick pay as part of its coronavirus containment strategy.

The emergency legislation will temporarily amend the eligibility requirements for statutory sick pay (SSP), allowing the statutory payment to be made from the first day of sickness absence. Under section 155(1) of the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992, SSP is not currently payable for the first three qualifying days in any period of incapacity for work.

In a statement to the House of Commons yesterday, the Prime Minister said that the emergency measures were being introduced so that employees would not lose out financially where they are asked to stay at home to protect others in the workplace from the virus.

It is understood that this change will not be limited to those employees who have been diagnosed with Covid-19; the legislation will amend the requirements for all those eligible to receive SSP.

In doing so the Prime Minister appeared to refer to employees who have been requested to self-isolate on medical advice, even if they are not suffering from any symptoms and so remain able to work. It is likely that such individuals would be eligible for SSP by reason of deemed incapacity, provided they have been issued with a written notice by a medical authority advising them to self-isolate. This is confirmed by ACAS guidance which has been updated following the government’s announcement.

The rate of SSP will increase from £94.25 per week to £95.85 on 6 April 2020.

It is not clear yet whether the emergency legislation would allow SSP to be paid to those not currently eligible, such as workers on zero-hours contracts.

If you have any queries about this or any other matter regarding employment law please do not hesitate to contact Carmel Sunley.

More advice from ACAS

Acas – the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service – have issued advice for employers and employees regarding the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in the UK.

Read the latest advice here – https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Need to know more?

If you have any queries about this or any other matter regarding employment law, please do not hesitate to contact Carmel Sunley.

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