Self-isolation and statutory sick pay from first day of absence
UPDATE – The Coronavirus Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 25 March 2020, introducing emergency measures for statutory sick pay (SSP) in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition to the new regulations that came into force on March 13 2020 (announcing that those who self-isolate with symptoms of coronavirus in accordance with NHS published guidance are now entitled to claim statutory sick pay), the Coronavirus Act enables the government to make further changes so that SSP can now be paid from the first day of absence – rather than from day four, which is currently the case. This is only applicable where an employee’s incapacity for work is related to coronavirus.
The current Public Health England guidance is as follows:-
- If you develop symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, which are high temperature and/or new continuous cough, you should self-isolate for seven days from when your symptoms started.
- You should remain at home until 7 days after the onset of your symptoms. After seven days, if you feel better and no longer have a high temperature, you can return to your normal routine.
- If you have had exposure to someone with a confirmed case, you should self-isolate for 14 days.
If an employee has been diagnosed with coronavirus then they will be entitled to sick pay in the usual way.
As an employer, what will these changes mean for my business?
SSP is currently paid by and funded by the employer, but the new Act provides for any coronavirus-related SSP to be funded by the state, although this will still be paid by the employer.
HMRC will now make regulations setting out the extent of this funding, including whether this can be paid in advance or in arrears and for SSP to backdated to cover incapacity for work falling on or after 13 March 2020.
Are there any restrictions?
Although full details of the scheme are not yet know, the Chancellor had previously announced that SSP would be limited to two weeks per eligible employee and that funding will only be available to businesses with less than 250 employees.
What should I do to prepare?
Further legislation is still required to bring these measures into force. However, as we expect these to be implemented imminently, employers should start putting policies and procedures in place now to deal with these situations.
The team here is monitoring the situation carefully and will provide updates as soon as more detail is known. In the meantime do not hesitate to contact a member of your local employment team
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