The government scheme enabling small businesses to recoup statutory sick pay costs due to coronavirus will close at the end of this month. Meaning any outstanding claims must be made by December 31, 2021. 

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, employers were obliged to pay statutory sick pay (SSP) to eligible employees unable to work because of sickness. It is paid at a flat rate of £96.35 (at the current rate) for up to 28 weeks. The employer meets the total cost of SSP. 

To support employers during the pandemic, the government legislated to allow certain small and medium employers to reclaim some, or all, of their SSP costs from HMRC via SSPRS.

Under the new regulations, employers will not be able to reclaim SSP from September 30th, 2021, and any claims relating to periods before that date must be filed by December 31st, 2021. 

Employees will remain entitled to SSP from day one of the PIW if the absence is for coronavirus related reasons. 

Rishi Sunak confirmed at Budget 2020 that reimbursement of SSP would be for employers with fewer than 250 employees. 

HMRC’s online reclaims portal opened on May 26th 2020, accessible via a government gateway user ID. When reclaiming the SSP, the employer must provide the PAYE scheme reference number, and the total amount of Covid-19 SSP paid for the claim period. It must also make these declarations: 

  • The employer was not ‘in difficulty’ on December 31st, 2019 or June 29th, 2020, depending on the date of sickness. 
  • Confirm the amount claimed will not result in the amount of state aid received, making them exceed the allowable cap for their sector. 
  • That the information stated in the claim is true and accurate. 

The new legislation means that eligible employers cannot use the scheme (and make reclaims) for any Covid-19 SSP absence occurring after September 30th 2021. 

However, the legislation allows for a transitional administrative arrangement that is in place until December 31st, 2021, allowing employers the time to either submit any claims or amend and claims. 

Helen Preece
Helen Preece

Helen Preece runs The Financial Management Centre in Brighton. Helen is a CIMA qualified accountant with over 15 years of accountancy and bookkeeping experience. Having previously worked in audit, practice and industry she feels she has varied experience that can be applied to all clients. Helen understands that for small business the finance and bookkeeping side is not normally the first thing on the business owners ‘To Do’ list.