On 19 April 2020, Government updated Statutory Payments Manuals to provide clarity on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) entitlement for employees that have been furloughed.
- Guidance now confirms that an employee will not qualify for SSP if they are furloughed as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
- Further guidance confirms that for the purposes of COVID-19 cases, medical evidence includes an isolation note from NHS111 if the employee is self-isolating and cannot work or a notification letter from a doctor, hospital or health authority if an employee is shielding and cannot work.
- Further guidance sets out where an employee is sick or self-isolating because of COVID-19 from 13 March 2020, payment of SSP will start from the first qualifying day as long as they have formed a Period of Incapacity for Work.
- Also, where an employee is shielding from 16 April 2020, SSP entitlement will start from the first qualifying day as long as they have formed a Period of Incapacity for Work.
- The Statutory Sick Pay (General) (Coronavirus Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 have been published and came into force on 16 April 2020.
- The amendment adds a new category of persons who are deemed extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of a health condition and have been advised to follow rigorous shielding measures.
Guidance clarifying that an employee will not qualify for SSP if they are furloughed completely contradicts previous guidance. Pervious guidance stated that furloughed employees must be at least paid SSP and it was up to employers to decide whether to move the employees onto SSP or to keep them on furlough, at their furloughed rate.
The new guidance clarifies that employers no longer have this choice and instead, employers will keep employees furloughed as opposed to paying them SSP.
Experience shows changes to guidance are often not published during the working day and as a result, can easily be missed. You might have been doing the “right thing” in accordance with version 4 of the guidance, but we are now on version 6! It is essential that you keep up to date with the guidance and our news to ensure that you are remaining compliant.
If you require any further advice or guidance about how to manage the furlough process or any other employment guidance, such as redundancy, please get in touch with one of our advisors on 0121 445 6178.