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March 14th 2020

Coronavirus: Statutory Sick Pay relief for small businesses

Among the measures announced in Wednesday’s Budget was the news that small businesses (those with up to 250 employees) will be able to reclaim the cost of paying up to 14 days Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) to any employee who self-isolates because they are showing symptoms of the coronavirus.

The current rate of SSP is £94.25 per week.

Current NHS guidance indicates that anyone with a persistent cough or high temperature should self-isolate for a period of seven days.

Employees displaying symptoms will not be required to produce a GP sick note in order to access the payments; employers should however keep and maintain robust records of staff absences.

The Government is warning, however, that it could take months before employers are reimbursed, since the new measures have been introduced at very short notice and there is, as yet, no repayment mechanism in place.

Therefore the requirement to apply SSP from day one, yet with the prospect of no reimbursement for many weeks, will no doubt place further strain on the cashflows of many small businesses already struggling with collapsing customer demand and faltering supply chains.

The Chancellor also announced that self employed people who self-isolate will be able to claim Employment and Support Allowance, which is normally payable at £73.10 per week. Again further details of exactly how this will work are awaited.

The Government is due to bring forward emergency legislation dealing with the above (and other Covid 19 measures) as early as next week.

If you need help understanding the new rules; or broader assistance for your business with planning for and responding to the fallout from Covid 19; contact us today.

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