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Statutory Sick Pay and (1) Furlough Leave (2) Shielding

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The Government has provided two further areas of clarification to Covid-19 related interaction with Statutory Sick Pay.

Firstly, HMRC has updated its statutory payments manual to provide that employees do not qualify for Statutory Sick Pay if:

  • they are furloughed as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
  • they received Employment Support Allowance within 12 weeks of starting or returning to work.

If a furloughed employee becomes sick, you need to keep treating their absence as furlough leave and keep paying furlough pay.

If an employee has not been furloughed and is not entitled to SSP (because they do not meet the eligibility criteria) and has been off sick for four or more consecutive days, they may be entitled to claim Employment Support Allowance (ESA). The employer is required to give an employee who is not entitled to SSP a completed form SSP1, or an approved equivalent form, within a specified timeframe. See Regulation 15 of the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982.

Secondly, a person is deemed to be incapable of work (and therefore qualify for SSP from day one), if they are unable to work because they fall within the extremely vulnerable category and have been advised to shield. The Regulations came into force on 16 April 2020 and do not appear to have retrospective effect (unlike some of the other changes to SSP).

See Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020.

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