0370 270 6000

New statutory sick pay regulations, 28 March 2020

1 April 2020

Please note: the information contained in this legal update is correct as of the original date of publication

The Statutory Sick Pay (Coronavirus) (Suspension of Waiting Days and General Amendment) Regulations 2020 have now been published and came into force on 28 March 2020.

The new Regulations remove the three-day waiting period for SSP and provide more clarity for employers as to when this will apply. The clarity comprises of 3 main elements:

  1. It creates certainty over when an employee can claim statutory sick pay in relation to coronavirus and sets out specific examples.
  2. It clearly sets out the symptoms of coronavirus but allows for changes without the need for new regulations.
  3. It removes the 8-month time limit included within the previous recent SSP amendment regulations.

1. Isolating due to Coronavirus

The Regulations includes specific scenarios as to when individuals can claim statutory sick pay. These include where:

  • An individual has symptoms of coronavirus (however mild) and is staying at home for 7 days beginning with the day symptoms started.
  • An individual who lives with someone who has symptoms and is staying home to isolate for 14 days.
  • An individual who was within b) above but who is now isolating as they have developed symptoms of coronavirus, and is staying at home for 7 days, beginning with the day the symptoms started.

Employees will need to fit into one of these scenarios to be able to claim SSP.

2. Symptoms of Coronavirus

The Regulations also sets out the symptoms of coronavirus. As expected, they reiterate the current government guidance of a continuous cough; a high temperature; and both a continuous cough and a high temperature. However, the definition also includes any other symptoms as may be specified by the Chief Medical Officer. The definition may therefore be subject to change if new information about the virus becomes available or if the virus was to evolve or mutate.

3. Removal of the 8 month time limit

The Regulations remove the 8-month expiry date imposed by the changes earlier this month. The new changes to SSP are therefore in force until further notice with plans to keep this under constant review. This may well indicate that the current Government view is that the situation will continue for a significant period.

Although this legislation implements what was promised some time ago, employers now have some certainty about what SSP they should be paying. As indicated within the Coronavirus Act 2020, these Regulations are retrospective, covering the particular types of self-isolation on or after 13 March 2020. Employers who therefore previously paid sick-pay starting from day 4 for these absences will therefore need to ensure that a back-payment is made, covering the first three days.

Coronavirus support

We are helping across business, health, education and government sectors:

Related opinions

New mothers suffer a cumulative loss of income of £66,434 over the following decade

Independent think-tank, the Social Market Foundation (“SMF”), has launched a cross-party parliamentary commission on childcare and its implications for mothers.

View blog

The impact of COVID-19 on maternal deaths

HSIB published its report on Maternal deaths during the first wave of COVID-19. The report takes a closer look at the impact that COVID-19 had during the initial period of March to May 2020.

View blog

New rules for Fit Notes

Where employees are absent from work due to sickness for more than 7 days, they need to provide reasonable medical evidence in respect of that absence for statutory sick pay purposes – this is most frequently satisfied through the provision of a Statement of Fitness for Work, otherwise known as a Fit Note.

View blog

80% hours for 100% pay? That’ll do nicely

As has been widely reported this week, some 3,000 UK workers are taking part in a six month trial to assess the viability of a four-day working week without any reduction in their normal pay.

View blog

Mailing list sign up

Select which mailings you would like to receive from us.

Sign up