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Statutory Sick Pay – COVID-19


    During the COVID-19 outbreak, employers and employees are naturally becoming concerned about the impact it will have on their incomes. How will statutory sick pay be affected and implemented?

    Business support available

    The Chancellor has set out a list of measures designed to support people and public services during this time.

    The support and measures offered to businesses include:

    • a statutory sick pay relief package for small and medium-sized businesses
    • 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 are constantly updating this web page with new information as they decide on the next measures of support.

    Statutory sick pay

    With regards to sick pay, employees who follow advice and stay at home but cannot continue their work from home will be eligible for statutory sick pay, even if they are not sick.

    They are eligible if they:

    • have the Coronavirus (confirmed)
    • have symptoms of the Coronavirus
    • someone in their household has Coronavirus symptoms
    • a doctor or NHS 111 tells them to self isolate

    Those ineligible for statutory sick pay, including those earning less than an average of £118 per week or self-employed people, will be able to claim Universal Credit and or contributory Employment and Support Allowance.

    Time off work

    As an employer, it is crucial to be informed and aware of the official advice. If an employee needs time off work to look after someone they are entitled to do so for a ‘dependent’ in an unexpected event or emergency, including the outbreak of COVID 19. This maybe particularly relevant for those with children (if the schools close) or those with relatives with symptoms of the virus.

    While there is no statutory pay for this time off, some employers may decide to offer pay.

    Scottish Government action

    The Scottish government has announced £320 million of assistance to Scottish businesses and steps to support them in 2020-2021. They have directed support at the tourism and hospitality sectors in particular and have stated that all rates payers will benefit from relief.

    There will be:

    • a 75 % rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from April 1st
    • an £80 million fund to provide grants of at least £3000 to small businesses
    • 6 % rates relief for all properties across Scotland
    • a fixed rates relief of up to £5000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from April 1st

    A free helpline has been set up by the Scottish Government  for people who do not have symptoms but are looking for general advice: 0800 028 2816.

    For concerns about being able to pay your tax due to COVID-19, call HMRC’s dedicated helpline on 0800 0159 559.

    Finally, if you have any questions regarding the contents of this post, please feel free to contact us.