The Chancellor has reinstated the statutory sick pay (SSP) rebate scheme for small and medium-sized businesses. The old rebate scheme closed on 30th September 2021, but due to the current surge in Covid-19 cases, the new scheme will apply where the employee has taken sick leave due to Covid-related reasons from 21st December 2021. No rebates of SSP can be claimed for periods of absence between 1st October and 20th December 2021. A maximum of 2 weeks SSP can be claimed per employee, ignoring any amounts of SSP claimed for that employee under the old scheme. To qualify for the scheme, UK-based employers must have a PAYE scheme set up by 30th November 2021 and must have less than 250 employees on 30th November 2021. (This will include connected employers, just as it the case for claiming the employment allowance). You must have paid the covid-related SSP to your employees before making a claim.
The online reclaims portal will open in mid-January 2022 and will be accessed through this link. The employer will need their government gateway user ID to make a claim, but tax agents can make claims on behalf of their clients and we can do that for our clients.
The information needed for a claim should be similar to the old scheme:
Employer PAYE scheme reference
UK bank details
A contact name and telephone number
The total amount of Covid-19 SSP paid for the claim period
The number of employees being claimed for
The start and end date of the claim period
Each claim can cover multiple employees and there is no indication that each employee will have to be identified.
The employer will have to keep records of the SSP paid and reclaimed for each employee, including dates off sick, qualifying days for SSP, the reasons given for absence relating to Covid-19 and their National Insurance number.
The Treasury announcement warns that this is a temporary scheme, but gives no indication of when it will close.