GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS AND BUSINESSES UNDER THE COVID-19 EPIDEMIC

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

Following the guidance and measures taken by the Government to support businesses and employees through the COVID-19 epidemic, some measures and legislations have been introduced as per below.

Sick Pay (SSP)

The Government will bring forward legislation to allow small- and medium-sized businesses and employers to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) paid for sickness absence due to COVID-19. The eligibility criteria for the scheme will be as follows:

  • This refund will cover up to 2 weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of COVID-19

  • Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible – the size of an employer will be determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020

  • Employers will be able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of COVID-19

  • Employers should maintain records of staff absences and payments of SSP, but employees will not need to provide a GP fit note

  • Eligible period for the scheme will commence the day after the regulations on the extension of Statutory Sick Pay to those staying at home comes into force

  • The government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible.

Certifying absences from work

By law, medical evidence is not required for the first 7 days of sickness. After 7 days, employers may use their discretion around the need for medical evidence if an employee is staying at home.

We strongly suggest that employers use their discretion around the need for medical evidence for a period of absence where an employee is advised to stay at home either as they are unwell themselves, or live with someone who is, in accordance with the public health advice issued by the government.


Government Support for Businesses:

The government have also stated that they plan to introduce support as follows:

  • A statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs

  • A 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England

  • Small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief

  • Grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000

  • The Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance

  • The HMRC Time To Pay Scheme

HMRC’s Time to Pay Service:

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time-To-Pay service. These arrangements are agreed on a case-by-case basis and are tailored to individual circumstances and liabilities.

If you are concerned about any of the above matters, please call ACT Payroll on 020 7434 6003 or email on payroll@act.london

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