The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) was reintroduced for qualifying employers on 21 December 2021 (broadly those with fewer than 250 employees on 30 November 2021).
The SSPRS covers COVID-related sickness absences occurring from that date. If the absence started before that date, then a claim can be made for days of COVID-related incapacity for work which fall on or after 21 December. A new claim can be made even if an employee had been claimed for under the previous SSPRS, which ended on 30 September 2021. Effectively, the clock is reset.
HMRC has now confirmed that employers can only make claims for their employees’ coronavirus-related absences or self-isolation absences that occur up to 17 March 2022. The claims portal will close on 24 March 2022.
ICAEW’s Tax Faculty emphasises that SSP must have been paid before it can be reclaimed. This may exclude many claims for the March period. For example, an employer that pays COVID-related SSP in a March payroll that does not pay until after Thursday 24 March 2022 will be unable to make a claim.
From 25 March 2022, the normal SSP rules apply, which means employers revert to paying SSP from the fourth qualifying day their employee is off work, regardless of the reason for their sickness absence. During the coronavirus pandemic, the government suspended waiting days for COVID-related SSP. This meant that employers had to pay SSP to eligible employees from the first qualifying day.
ICAEW’s Tax Faculty has requested clarification concerning whether employees can still receive SSP for being suspected of having COVID-19 from 25 March 2022, in the same way that the rules operate for a contagious disease (eg, German measles, tuberculosis, etc).