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The Scheme was announced in May 2020 by the Chancellor of the Exchequer and allowed businesses with fewer than 250 employees to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay(“SSP”) paid to employees for COVID-19 related absences.

Qualifying employers were able to claim back up to 2 weeks of SSP paid to employees if:

  • they are claiming for an employee who was paid SSP during a coronavirus related absence, i.e. the employee tested positive, was self-isolating as a result of living with a positive case, at the notification of NHS Test and Trace, or received a shielding letter from the NHS; and
  • they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020; and
  • they had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020.

While the scheme closes for new claims on 30 September 2021, any claims for SSP paid prior to the 30 September 2021 can be reclaimed up to 31 December 2021.

It is important to note that employers can only make one claim for each employee (including zero hours employees) and the maximum claim amount is 2 weeks SSP in total. Claims should be supported by an isolation note or a letter from the NHS, whichever is relevant.

Once employers have received reimbursement of any SSP paid, they will need to keep the usual SSP records for a period of 3 years. The information to be retained is:

  • The dates of the absence.
  • Which of those dates were qualifying days.
  • The reason for the absence.
  • The employee’s National Insurance number.

Given that the HMRC is likely to receive an influx of claims once the Scheme comes to an end on 30 September 2021, it would be prudent for employers to start collating the information required to reclaim any SSP paid, and for them to submit their claim well in advance of the December deadline.

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