This scheme was originally announced in the March Budget and was part of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s early package of support measures for businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
Employers, with fewer than 250 employees can apply to HMRC to recover the costs of paying coronavirus related SSP, through a new online service which HMRC are launching from 26 May.
They will receive repayments at the relevant rate of SSP, that they have paid to current or former employees for eligible periods of sickness starting on or after 13 March 2020.
Interestingly, Tax agents will also be able to make claims on behalf of employers, which has not been the case with Furloughing under the Job Retention Scheme.
Employers are eligible if they have a PAYE payroll scheme that was created and started before 28 February 2020 and they had fewer than 250 employees before the same date and the scheme will cover up to 2 weeks of SSP as a repayment to the employer.
The employee had to be unable to work because:
- They have coronavirus
- Are self-isolating and unable to work from home
- Or are shielding because they’ve been advised that they’re at high risk of severe illness from coronavirus
In reality, this scheme may be of limited help, only covering 2 weeks of SSP in specific circumstances, but for businesses struggling with cash flow, any Government support is welcome.