Three-day wait for Statutory Sick Pay to return next year

Under standard rules in the UK, employers do not have to pay SSP to an employee until the fourth qualifying day. This is in the Period of Incapacity for Work (PIW). The PIW is a period of sickness lasting four or more consecutive calendar days. However, not all of which may be qualifying days.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government suspended the three-day wait for COVID-related SSP. This meant that employers must pay Statutory Sick Pay from the first qualifying day.

The amendment to the SSP rules was made in the Coronavirus Act 2020 which is due to expire after two years. This means that COVID-related SSP waiting time will automatically revert to three days on 25th March 2022. This may change if there is an intervention to continue the measure.

Frank Haskew, Head of the Tax Faculty at the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), said:

‘The SSP rules were not really designed with a highly infectious global pandemic in mind, which is why the current easements have been welcome.

‘While some employees who are ill from coronavirus or required to self-isolate may be unable to afford not to go to work unless they are paid SSP for the first three days, there are also small businesses where the unreimbursed cost of paying three days’ coronavirus-related SSP to employees is a real burden.’

Following the suspension of the waiting period, small employers were able to recover the cost of the additional three days SSP from HMRC. This was under the SSP recovery scheme (SSPRS) but, this scheme ended at the end of September and from this date employers must cover the additional costs themselves. Any outstanding claims under the SSPRS must be submitted by the end of this year (see HMRC’s guidance).

Samantha Bennett from Harvey, Telford & Bates comments:

“Unless the government does decide to intervene, the change in SSP will affect both employers and employees alike. Employees claiming coronavirus-related SSP from 25th March will be paid from the fourth day qualifying in the PIW, not from day one.

If you would like any assistance or guidance, please get in touch with our team. At Harvey, Telford & Bates we are on hand to help.”

If you would like more information or assistance please call Harvey, Telford & Bates please call us on 01743 462604 to discuss your payroll requirements.

For more information on the Statutory Sick Pay change, please visit the ICAEW website