20 May 2020
When we went into lockdown two months ago, the Chancellor made an early announcement that businesses would be able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). Well, for those who have been waiting, it’s about to happen. On Tuesday 19 May, HMRC announced that its online service enabling small and medium-sized employers to reclaim SSP will launch on 26 May 2020.
The conditions are that:
- the employer must have fewer than 250 employees as at 28 February 2020, including employees of connected companies
- there must have been a PAYE scheme established by 28 February 2020
- the employer must fall within established EU state aid limits, which vary dependent on the trade sector
- the repayment will cover up to two weeks from the first qualifying day for employees who were absent either because they displayed Covid-19 symptoms, were self-isolating or were shielding, evidenced by a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks
- claims can be for periods of sickness commencing on or after 13 March 2020 for those with Covid-19 symptoms and those self-isolating, and for periods on or after 16 April for those shielding.
- employees do not need to have provided a doctor’s fit note, but employers can request an isolation note provided by NHS111 or a shielding letter.
Agents can claim on behalf of clients, but if employers are claiming themselves, they will need a Government Gateway Account and will need to enrol for the PAYE online service. All employers can ready themselves for a claim by collating the following information:
- PAYE scheme reference number
- details of who to contact if HMRC has any queries
- details of a UK bank or building society account into which the repayment can be made
- the total amount of coronavirus SSP paid to employees for the claim period - this should not exceed the weekly rate of £94.25 up to 5 April 2020 and £95.85 thereafter, even if employers have been paying at a higher level than this
- the number of employees for which claims are being made
- the start date and end date of the claim period.
Claims can be made for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time. The start date of a claim is the start date of the earliest pay period being claimed for. The end date is the last day of the most recent pay period for which a claim is being made.
Care needs to be taken so that an SSP reclaim is not made in respect of an employee for a period for which a claim under CJRS has been made. This emphasises the need for keeping accurate records and details of the employees in respect of whom claims have been made, including periods of sickness, the reasons and evidence for absence and NI numbers. This information needs to be kept for 3 years. HMRC may ask questions and audit some claims.
Full details of the scheme can be found here.
If you need any assistance please get in touch with me or your usual UHY adviser.