Coronavirus, Self-Isolation and Statutory Sick Pay

5 March 2020

Under current legislation, an employee earning at least £118 per week will qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for a prolonged period of absence, once they have surpassed the three ‘waiting-days’ of sickness. This is a tried and tested basis of paying SSP and has been, and is, well understood.

The current situation surrounding Coronavirus allows for employees, most probably under instruction, to ‘self-isolate’ in case they have the virus, despite potentially not showing any obvious symptoms. Therefore, we have a situation whereby a potentially healthy individual, has to advise his or her employer that he or she may be sick or show signs of sickness in the next 14 days. SSP in this situation would still be activated after the first three days of self-isolation.

Until now, that is, as the Government has moved to announce, yesterday (4 March) that in the situation of self-isolation, the three waiting days are ignored and SSP is available from the first day of ‘self-isolation’. The actual legislation for this has yet to be enacted or placed on the statute books and so, as always, the devil may be in the detail, but employers may now have to run two SSP records; one for self-isolation for Coronavirus and one for all other ailments.

If this is all too much for you and you need payroll advice then please contact me or your local UHY tax specialist.