HMRC launches Sick Pay reclaim service for employers with less than 250 employees
Justine Riccomini explains how eligible employers can reclaim SSP during the coronavirus period.
- Businesses with less than 250 employees as of 28 February 2020 can apply online to claim SSP they have paid in respect of coronavirus-related absences
- The maximum claim is 14 days per employee
- The business must have a PAYE scheme in place on or before 28 February 2020
- Businesses must be eligible to claim under the State Aid rules as set out under the EU Commission Temporary Framework apply to the payments and so the sector relevant thresholds must be observed – these are always set out in Euros so exchange rate calculations must be carried out
- The maximum level of State Aid payable to a non-agricultural, fisheries or aquaculture business is €800,000. If businesses’ main function is agriculture or fisheries/aquaculture, the thresholds are significantly lower - at €100,000 and €120,000 respectively.
- Claims may commence on or after 13 March 2020 if the employee was:
a) symptomatic of, or
b) diagnosed with coronavirus, or
c) self-isolating due to a co-inhabitant displaying symptoms
- Where the employee was shielding and has a letter from the NHS, claims can be made on or after 16 April 2020.
The employees must be on PAYE either part-time, full-time, agency or flexible/zero hours contracts. Off-payroll workers are not included in the eligible employment types.
If they wish, employers can pay more than this – but the claim must be restricted to the current SSP weekly payment of £94.25 (pre 6 April 2020) /£95.85 (post 6 April 2020) per week.
To make claims, businesses will need:
- Their employer PAYE scheme reference number
- A contact name and telephone number
- UK bank/building society details
- Details of the value of coronavirus related SSP paid
- The number of employees being claimed for
- The start and end date of the claim period
Employers must retain the following records for three years after receiving payment:
- Dates the employee was off sick
- Qualifying dates
- Reason for absence – note however that employees do not have to provide a doctor’s fit note in order for their employer to make a claim under the scheme
- Employee’s NINO
Can employers furlough and reclaim SSP?
Furloughed staff and SSP claims must not mix. If staff are furloughed this renders the employer ineligible to claim the SSP back, so SSP should not be paid. If the employee is sick whilst working then a claim can be made. It is for each employer to decide what they can do, bearing in mind that many employers will already have furloughed employees before this scheme starts.
Connected companies and charities can use the SSP scheme if the combined employees declared under PAYE on Real Time Information is fewer than 250 on or before 28 February 2020.
Find out more about this on GOV.UK