Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The government is temporarily reintroducing the SSPRS to support employers facing heightened levels of sickness absence due to Covid-19

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The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) will refund small and medium-sized employers’ Covid-related SSP costs for up to two weeks per employee. Employers will be eligible for the scheme if they:

  • are UK-based
  • employed fewer than 250 employees as of 30 November 2021
  • had a PAYE payroll system as of 30 November 2021
  • have already paid their employees’ Covid-related SSP.

Employers will be able to claim the costs for up to two weeks of SSP per employee that has to take time off because of Covid-19. This two week limit will be reset so an employer will be able to claim up to two weeks per employee regardless of whether they have claimed under the previous scheme for that employee.

The scheme will be reintroduced so that employers can claim for Covid-related sickness absences occurring from 21 December 2021 onwards. Employers will be able to make a claim through HMRC from mid-January onwards.

This is a temporary scheme to support employers facing heightened levels of sickness absence due to Covid-19. The government will keep the duration of the scheme under review.

Employers must keep the following records for three years after the date they receive the payment for their claim:

  • the dates the employee was off sick
  • which of those dates were qualifying days
  • the reason they said they were off work due to Covid-19
  • the employee’s national insurance number.

ACAS has updated its guidance regarding Absence from work.

Getting proof of sickness

From 10 December 2021, a fit note is not required unless an employee is off work for more than 28 days. This is a temporary change to the usual seven day rule, to allow doctors to prioritise the coronavirus vaccination booster campaign.

From 10 December 2021

If someone is absent due to sickness for 28 calendar days or less (including weekends), they do not need a fit note.

This means they tell their employer they're not well enough to work and do not need to provide any further medical evidence.

This is called 'self-certifying' their sick leave. They should still be paid the amount of sick pay that's in their contract.

If someone has a period of sickness absence for longer than 28 calendar days (no matter how many days they work each week), then they should get a fit note from their doctor.

Before 10 December 2021

If an employee started their sick leave before 10 December 2021, their employer can ask for proof if they have been off work for more than seven days in a row (including non-working days).

Getting a fit note

If the employee knows they're likely to be off sick for longer than 28 days, they should try and get the fit note to their employer on the 28th day of sickness absence.

Doctors might not be able to provide a fit note before the 28th day of absence. If there's a delay getting a fit note – for example, difficulty booking a doctor's appointment – the employee should contact their employer and explain.

What a fit note says

A fit note will say the employee either:

  • is not fit for work
  • might be fit for work.

Where the doctor says the employee might be fit for work, they can give details of what level of work they consider the person is able to do.

They might say the employee is fit for work in general, but not for a specific task.