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Government to launch portal for the SME statutory sick pay rebate scheme

The Government has announced that the online portal to allow small and medium sized employers to claim under the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (“CSSPRS”) will be opened on 26 May.
 
The scheme was announced at the Budget in March and is intended to allow small and medium sized entities to reclaim up to two weeks’ worth of statutory sick pay paid to employees who were unable to work because they either:
 
• Have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms.
• Cannot work because they are self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms.
• Are shielding and have a letter from the NHS or a GP telling them to stay at home for at least 12 weeks.
 
Employers can claim for periods of sickness starting on or after:
 
• 13 March 2020 - if their employee had coronavirus or the symptoms or is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms.
• 16 April 2020 - if their employee was shielding because of coronavirus.
 
The weekly rate was £94.25 before 6 April 2020 and is now £95.85. If the employer pays more than the weekly rate of SSP they can only claim up to the weekly rate paid.
 
In order to claim the employer must have
 
• A PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started on or before 28 February 2020
• Had fewer than 250 employees on 28 February 2020
 
WR comment – this was one of the first measures that were announced to support employers through the Coronavirus outbreak but has rather sailed under the radar until now.  Clearly government resources have been devoted to rolling out the larger and higher profile job retention and self-employment income support schemes and the value of this scheme to employers will clearly be somewhat lower on the whole.  Nonetheless any cash support is welcome at the moment and employers should consider whether they qualify and if so calculate the amount they claim in order to be ready for when the portal opens next week.
 
19 May 2020 | Written by Paul Brown, Tax Partner 

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