IMPORTANT UPDATE: COVID-19

Employers will welcome clarification that a worker self-isolating because a person in a ‘linked household’ – a household in the same ‘bubble’ - has COVID-19, or shows symptoms of it, is entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP).

Previously, SSP was only payable if a worker had to self-isolate because someone in their own household was ill or had symptoms of the virus.

However, new rules now allow a person living alone to link to another household, and be treated as if they were all living in one household together with the members of that other household. For example, they are allowed to go into the linked house or flat and do not have to socially distance themselves from the people living there. In the jargon, the two households form a ‘bubble’.

The government has now confirmed that SSP is also payable to a worker who has to self-isolate because someone in a linked household has COVID-19 or symptoms of it, too.

The employer can, however, stop paying SSP if the person with COVID-19 symptoms subsequently tests negative for it.

The government has also clarified that where someone:

  • was shielding (and therefore entitled to SSP);
  • then receives a notification from the Department of Health and Social Care that ended their period of shielding (so payment of SSP ceases); but
  • subsequently receives a new notification advising them to shield again for a further period

SSP is payable for the new period.

Employers should ensure that they keep adequate records of SSP payments for three years, to satisfy HMRC they were duly payable, including:

  • reason why the employee could not work;
  • start and end dates of periods off work, and other details;
  • details of the days the employee qualified for SSP because they could not work; and
  • employee’s National Insurance number.

Employers should ensure they pay SSP to employees who have to self-isolate because a person in a linked household has COVID-19, or is showing symptoms of it.

If you have any questions regarding SSP or the coronavirus job retention scheme and require guidance, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our experienced Employment team on 01484 558060 or email gareth.dando@ramsdens.co.uk who will be happy to assist.