Employee issues including Statutory Sick Pay, Time Off, and Lay-Offs

Statutory Sick Pay

The online service you’ll use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is now available.  it is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-back-statutory-sick-pay-paid-to-your-employees-due-to-coronavirus-covid-19

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will repay employers the current rate of SSP that they pay to current or former employees for periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020 (16 April 2020 if your employee was shielding because of coronavirus.)

If you’re an employer who pays more than the current rate of SSP you can only claim the current rate amount.

The repayment will cover up to 2 weeks starting from the first day of sickness, if an employee is unable to work because they either:

The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

Use the SSP calculator to work out the actual amount.

Employees do not have to give you a doctor’s fit note for you to make a claim. But you can ask them to give you either:

From 8 June 2020, some people entering or returning to the UK will be required to quarantine for 14 days.   If an employee is unable to work during this period, they will not qualify for SSP unless they also meet one of the above criteria.

You can make more than one claim per employee, but you cannot claim for more than 2 weeks in total.

You can claim from the first qualifying day your employee is off work if the period of sickness started on or after:

Most people are asked to self-isolate for 3 days before surgery. In this case, the day of surgery will be the 4th day of their period of incapacity for work. You cannot claim repayment of SSP for the day of surgery or any other days when the absence is not due to coronavirus.

A ‘qualifying day’ is a day an employee usually works on. The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If you’re an employer who pays more than the weekly rate of SSP you can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.

Who can use the scheme

The scheme can be used by employers if they:

You can claim back from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for the same employee but not for the same period of time for that employee.

The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:

Your claim amount should not be above the maximum €800,000 of state aid under the EU Commission temporary framework. This is when combined with other aid received under the framework. There is a lower maximum for agriculture at €100,000 and aquaculture and fisheries at €120,000.

Connected companies and charities

Connected companies and charities can also use the scheme if their total combined number of PAYE employees are fewer than 250 on or before 28 February 2020.

Employees who have transferred under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE)

You can make a claim for SSP paid due to coronavirus to employees who have been transferred to you under TUPE if you had:

If you did not have a PAYE scheme that was created on or before 28 February 2020, but the previous employer did, you can make a claim if they had fewer than 250 employees across all their PAYE schemes on that date.

As the new employer, you can only make claims for SSP that you have paid, a claim cannot include SSP paid by the previous employer.

Get ready to claim

The online service you’ll use to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) will be available from 26 May 2020.

To use the online service you will need the Government Gateway user ID you got when you registered for PAYE Online. If you did not register online you will need to enrol for the PAYE Online service.

Find your lost Government Gateway user ID if you do not have it.

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf.

If you’re unable to claim online an alternative way to claim will be available. We will update this page with more information soon.

What you’ll need

You’ll need:

You can claim for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time. The start date of your claim is the start date of the earliest pay period you’re claiming for. The end date of your claim is the end date of the most recent pay period you’re claiming.

Using an agent to do PAYE online

If you use an agent who is authorised to do PAYE online for you, they will be able to claim on your behalf. You should speak to your agent about whether they are providing this service.

If you would like to use an agent, but do not have one authorised to do PAYE online for you, you can do that by accessing your HMRC online services and selecting ‘Manage Account’.

You must be enrolled in PAYE online for employers to do this and will need to ask your agent for their agent ID. Your agent can get this from their HMRC online service for agents by selecting ‘authorise client.’

You can also use this service to remove authorisation from your agent if you do not want it to continue after they have submitted your claim(s).

If an agent makes a claim on your behalf, you will need to tell them which bank account you would like the grant to be paid into. You must only provide bank details where a BACS payment can be accepted.

After you’ve claimed

Your claim will be checked, and if valid, paid into the account you supplied within 6 working days.

HMRC will check claims and take appropriate action to withhold or recover payments found to be dishonest or inaccurate. Where employers knowingly and deliberately provide false or misleading information to benefit from the claim, HMRC will apply penalties of up to £3000.

We will contact you using the details you provided if we have any queries about the claim.

Do not contact HMRC unless it has been more than 10 working days since you have made your claim and you have not received it or been contacted by us within that time.

Records you must keep

You must keep records of all the statutory sick payments that you want to claim from HMRC, including:

You’ll have to keep these records for at least 3 years following your claim.

Holiday Pay Min

Holiday pay

Employers have the right to tell employees and workers when to take holiday if they need to. For example, they can decide to shut for a week and everyone has to use their holiday entitlement.

If the employer does decide to do this, they must tell staff at least twice as many days before as the amount of days they need people to take.

For example, if they want to close for 5 days, they should tell everyone at least 10 days before.

This could affect holiday staff have already booked or planned. So employers should:

  • explain clearly why they need to close
  • try and resolve anyone’s worries about how it will affect their holiday entitlement or plans

Time off for dependants

Employees are entitled to time off work to help someone who depends on them (a 'dependant') in an unexpected event or emergency. This could apply to situations to do with coronavirus.

A dependant does not necessarily live with the person, for example they could be an elderly neighbour or relative who relies on the person for help.

There's no statutory right to pay for this time off, but some employers might offer pay depending on the contract or policy.
 
The amount of time off an employee takes to look after someone must be reasonable for the situation. For example, they might take 2 days off to start with, and if more time is needed, they can book holiday.

If a dependant such as a partner, child or relative in the same household gets coronavirus symptoms, they should receive Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as a minimum for this time.

School closures

If employees need emergency time off for child care or to make new arrangements, they can use:

  • time off to care for someone else (as above)
  • holiday, if their employer agrees

Employers and employees can consider these steps:

  • talking to each other early on about time off that might be needed
  • agreeing regular conversations so both can plan ahead
  • agreeing flexible working instead of taking longer periods of time off, for example working from home or changing working hours to allow for child care

Lay-offs and short-time working

In some situations, an employer might need to close-down their business for a short time or ask staff to reduce their contracted hours.

If the employer thinks they'll need to do this, it's important to talk with staff as early as possible and throughout the closure.

Unless it says in the contract or is agreed otherwise, they still need to pay their employees for this time.

Short-time working is when an employee works reduced hours or is paid less than half a week’s pay.

You may also be able to lay off an employee or put them on short-time working:

Employees laid off and not entitled to their usual pay might be  entitled to “statutory guarantee pay”  of up to £29 a day from their employer.

The maximum payment is £29 a day for 5 days in any 3 months , If employees usually earn less than £29 a day, they’ll get their usual daily rate.

Employees can claim a redundancy payment from you if the lay-off or short-time working runs for:

They must give you written notice in advance that they want to make a claim.

You do not have to pay if they’ll return to normal working hours within 4 weeks.

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