Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme 2

The government has reintroduced the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS). It is a temporary reintroduction to support employers that face heightened levels of sickness absence due to Covid-19.

Small or medium-sized employers with under 250 employees may be eligible to claim SSP costs for up to 2 weeks per employee for Covid-19-related absences from 21 December 2021.

This is a reintroduction of the scheme which ran until 30 September 2021 but it is a new claims period. This means that the employer can claim for eligible employees whether or not they claim for them under the previous scheme.

Under the SSPRS employers can claim for employees who were off work on or after 21 December 2021 and, if the claim is successful, it will repay employers the SSP paid to current or former employers.

An employer can claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP if:

  • they have already paid the employee's sick pay
  • they are claiming for an employee who is eligible for sick pay due to Covid-19
  • they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 30 November 2021
  • they had fewer than 250 employees on 30 November 2021 across all of their PAYE payroll schemes

The maximum number of employees that can be claimed for is the number the employer had across their PAYE schemes on 30 November 2021. Employees do not have to give the employer a doctor's fit note to enable a claim to be made. The scheme covers all types of employment contracts including:

  • full-time employees
  • part-time employees
  • those on agency contracts
  • those on flexible or zero-hour contracts
  • fixed term contracts (until the date the contract ends)

An employer can make a claim for SSP paid due to Covid-19 to employees transferred to them under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) if they had:

  • a PAYE scheme that was created and started on or before 30 November 2021
  • fewer than 250 employees (including TUPE transferred employees) across all PAYE payroll schemes on 30 November 2021. 

A new employer can only make claims for SSP that it has paid; a claim cannot include the amount paid by the previous employer. An employer can claim from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the SSPRS for the same employee, but not for the same period of time.

This could be a valuable rebate for employers and it can be seen that it is also relevant to TUPE transfers. Accordingly, employers should consider taking specialist advice to ensure that they claim everything to which they are entitled. Note, however, that the window of opportunity to make this claim is small as the employer only has until 24 March 2022 to submit any new claims for absence periods up to 17 March 2022, or to amend claims already submitted.

To discuss this or any other employment matter, contact us.