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Sick pay has been a concern for many businesses and individuals during the Covid-19 outbreak. These are the announcements in today’s budget (updated 13 March 2020 for more detail):

Statutory Sick Pay for Employees

  • (already announced) SSP will apply from first day of absence not the fourth day.
  • SSP will apply to
    • people with Covid-19
    • people who have to self isolate
    • people unable to work because they have been advised to self isolate (not sure how this differs from previous head)
    • people caring for someone in their household with Covid-19
  • Relaxed rules around fit notes from GPs – employers advised to use their discretion not to request them. They will also be issued by NHS 111
  • Start date for these rules to be confirmed in a forthcoming Covid-19 bill, presumably in coming days given the urgency
  • SSP is £94.25/week 2019/20 and £95.85/week 2020/21. The amount is subject to Tax and NI under PAYE

SSP Reimbursement for Employers

  • Employers with less than 250 staff will have SSP costs refunded from government up to 2 weeks per employee – at present employers cannot recover SSP at all
  • Start date for these rules to be confirmed in the forthcoming Covid-19 bill

Sick Pay for the Self Employed and those Ineligible for SSP

  • “New Style” Employment and Support Allowance (NSESA) will be available to people with Covid-19/Self Isolating from day 1 rather than day 8.
    • NSESA is £73.10 (or £57.90 if aged under 24) a week
    • Dependant on NI contributions or credits over previous two years,
    • See https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-style-employment-and-support-allowance-detailed-guide#overview.
    • Savings aren’t taken into account, but pensions are
    • Can claim NSESA without visiting Job Centre (at the time of writing this isn’t reflected in all Government web guidance)
    • Possibility of applying for Universal Credit on top of NSESA but not if savings over £16,000
  • If you haven’t paid NI for the last two years (or had NI credits) then its possible to make a Universal credit claim
    • Seems that the Income Related ESA referred to on .gov.uk is not available to new claimants
    • Universal Credit amounts vary according to circumstances – see https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/what-youll-get
    • Partners income and savings over £6,000 are taken into account. No UC if savings over £16,000
    • Can claim without visiting Job Centre

Additionally, during the Covid-19 outbreak the Universal Credit minimum income floor rules for Self Employed to be suspended.

All of the above linked to publication of COVID-19 Emergency Bill re start dates – at the time of writing some of the .gov.uk website information is out of date – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-outlines-further-plans-to-support-health-and-social-care-system-in-fight-against-covid-19

Support if you are not sick but cannot work due to teaching venues being closed / no students

The only possible recourse here is Universal Credit

  • Universal Credit amounts vary according to circumstances – see https://www.gov.uk/universal-credit/what-youll-get
  • Partners income and savings over £6,000 are taken into account. No UC if savings over £16,000
  • For duration of Covid-19 outbreak, a claim for UC can be made without visiting Job Centre (precise arrangements for this being implemented at the time of writing)
  • During the Covid-19 outbreak the Universal Credit minimum income floor rules for Self Employed to be suspended
  • See https://www.gov.uk/self-employment-and-universal-credit

 

Update 13 March – added SSP rates. Added section on support if you are not sick but cannot work

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash