To support both employers and employees, in response to COVID-19, the government has set out a further package to widen the scope of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
Prior to the budget, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced SSP would be paid from the first day of sickness absence, rather than the fourth day, for people who have COVID-19 or have to self‑isolate.
However, the recently announced budget set out a further package to widen the scope of SSP and make it more accessible. The government will temporarily extend SSP to cover:
The government has published guidance to employers, advising them to use their discretion not to require a GP fit note for COVID-19 related absences. It has also announced that it will bring forward a temporary alternative to the fit note in the coming weeks which can be used for the duration of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The budget also announced a set of measures to provide support to businesses during this temporary period by either reducing their costs or bridging cashflow problems arising from the outbreak, and to protect people’s jobs.
The government announced that it will support small and medium-sized businesses and employers to cope with the extra costs of paying COVID-19 related SSP by refunding eligible SSP costs. The eligibility criteria for the scheme are as follows: