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COVID-19: Sick pay rebate scheme set to open

19 May 2020: Small employers and their tax agents will be able to submit claims for rebates of statutory sick pay linked to coronavirus from 26 May, HMRC has confirmed.

The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (CSSPRS) enables small and medium-sized employers to recover statutory sick pay (SSP) payments made to their employees, or former employees, when the absence was related to coronavirus.

Employers can claim a maximum of £191.70 per employee under the scheme – two weeks at the current rate of SSP (£95.85 per week). For claims dating back to between 13 March and 5 April 2020 the SSP rate was £94.25 per week.

Claims must be made through the CSSPRS online portal, which opens on 26 May. HMRC has confirmed that digitally excluded employers can ask to claim in an alternative manner.

The Chancellor announced the expansion of SSP in the light of the pandemic in the Spring Budget and it took effect from 13 March. The changes resulted in SSP payments being made to employees from the first day of illness (no waiting days applied).

As this represented an additional cost to employers, the CSSPRS is designed to help fund the cost of the first two weeks of SSP for smaller employers. This includes SSP payments made to those who were self-isolating for two weeks due to living with someone with symptoms, and, as of 16 April, employees shielding from the illness on the advice of the NHS or their GP.

Alongside announcing the opening of the portal, HMRC has updated its guidance for businesses on whether they can claim back SSP paid to employees due to coronavirus..

To be eligible for a rebate an employer must have had fewer than 250 members of staff on its PAYE payroll on 28 February 2020 (taking connected employers into account) and, as of 31 December 2019, were not in financially difficulty (ie, in insolvency or receiving rescue aid).

To submit a claim employers need their government gateway user ID and those employers that are not registered on the government gateway can enrol now.

To make a claim employers need:

  • employer PAYE scheme reference number;
  • contact name and telephone phone number (in case of queries);
  • UK bank or building society details (where a BACS payment can be accepted);
  • the total amount of coronavirus SSP paid for the claim period;
  • the number of employees being claimed for; and
  • the start date and end date of the claim period.

HMRC has also confirmed that claims can be made for multiple pay periods and employees at the same time with the start date of the claim being the start date of the earliest pay period being claimed for, and the end date of the claim is the end date of the most recent pay period.

As the CSSPRS is being operated under the EU’s Temporary State Aid Framework as part of their claim employers must declare that it will not result in the amount of state aid received by the employer exceeding their maximum temporary aid amount.

HMRC has also confirmed that employers can make claims from both the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) and the CSSPRS for the same employee, but not for the same period of time.

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