The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme online service is now live allowing employers to claim but they need to make sure they have a Government Gateway user ID and all claims are accurate.
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (CSSPRS) allows small and medium-sized employers, with fewer than 250 employees, to apply to HMRC to recover some of the costs of paying coronavirus-related statutory sick pay (SSP).
In an early announcement on 3 March we were told that coronavirus related SSP would be payable from the first qualifying day rather than after three waiting days (a three day wait still applies for employees who are absent with illnesses not related to coronavirus). Employers need to keep separate records of different types of SSP.
Later we were told, in a first since SSP rebates stopped in April 2014, that employers would be given the opportunity to reclaim from HMRC some of the SSP paid out. It is reported that this scheme alone could cost an estimated £1bn, yet the maximum that can be claimed for each employee is £191.70 – two weeks at the current rate of SSP (£95.85 per week). For claims dating back to between 13 March and 5 April 2020 the SSP rate was £94.25 per week.
It’s important to note that this is different from the furlough scheme. There are two pieces of legislation amongst other things, an employer must satisfy in order to make a claim:
- It must have fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020. This applies to all the PAYE schemes operated by the employer so there is a need to consider any connected employers.
- It was not ‘in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019 (ie in insolvency or receiving rescue aid).
From 26 May the new online service for claims is available. This means employers will be able to receive repayments for those eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020. If an employee is shielding following public health advice and where the employee has a letter from the GP or the NHS, repayments can be received for periods starting on or after 16 April 2020. Employers can’t make claims for furlough and SSP for the same time period for the same employee unless, for example, an employee was sick then later placed on furlough.
To submit a claim employers needs a Government Gateway user ID and those that are not registered should enrol now.
A key point with this scheme is that the CSSPRS is being operated under the EU’s Temporary State Aid Framework. As part of any claim employers must declare that it will not result in the amount of state aid it receives exceeding its maximum temporary aid amount. Penalties are clearly stated for incorrect applications.