Repayment of SSP
To help insulate businesses against the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19), small and medium-sized businesses (with fewer than 250 employees) will have the costs of SSP for any employee off work because of coronavirus for up to 14 days refunded by the Government in full. The HMRC guidance on this was published on 3 April. Various Statutory instruments set out the legislation for this scheme and the latest applies from 28 May 2020.
SI 2020/287; SI 2020/304; SI 2020/512
The Government announed in a press release that the online service to make claims will be available as of 26 May 2020 via the online PAYE service which went ahead as expected. There are links to enrol or find a lost Government Gateway ID for those that need it. A single claim can be made for multiple employees and pay periods at the same time.
The guidance will be updated with an option to claim for those that cannot use the online service in due course.
Guidance for businesses on the help available along with videos and webinars can be found here.
Details needed to make a claim
The guidance sets out the details needed to make a claim:
- your employer PAYE scheme reference number
- contact name and phone number of someone we can contact if we have queries
- UK bank or building society details (only provide bank account details where a BACS payment can be accepted)
- the total amount of coronavirus SSP you have paid to your employees for the claim period ― this should not exceed the weekly rate that is set
- the number of employees you are claiming for
- the start date and end date of the claim period
The full eligibility criteria for the scheme is as follows:
- this refund will cover up to two weeks’ SSP per eligible employee who has been off work because of coronavirus (either because they have coronavirus or cannot work because they are self-isolating at home or are shielding in line with public health guidance (as per HMRC guidance)) for periods starting on or after 13 March 2020.
SI 2020/512 para 3(1)(b)
- employers with fewer than 250 employees are eligible ― the size of an employer is determined by the number of people they employed as of 28 February 2020
SI 2020/512 para 4(1)
- employers are able to reclaim expenditure for any employee who has claimed SSP (according to the new eligibility criteria) as a result of coronavirus
SI 2020/512 para 5
- employers should maintain records of staff absences, but employees do not need to provide a GP fit note
- eligible period for the scheme commences on 13 March
SI 2020/512 para 3(1)(b)
- while existing systems are not designed to facilitate employer refunds for SSP, the Government will work with employers over the coming months to set up the repayment mechanism for employers as soon as possible
Spring Budget 2020, para 1.99
Note that, as per HMRC guidance, employers must have set up a PAYE scheme by 28 February 2020 and have started to use it and must not have beeen ‘in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019 as defined in SI 2020/512 para 4(2) which relates to EU legislation.
The scheme covers all types of employment contracts, including:
- full-time employees
- part-time employees
- employees on agency contracts
- employees on flexible or zero-hour contracts
In addition to these points, the total claim must not exceed the maximum temporary aid amount which is set out in section 3.1 of the Communication from the Commission of 19 March 2020 on the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak.
In addition, the HMRC guidance sets out that the following records must be kept:
- the reason the employee could not work
- start and end dates for each period not worked
- details of the SSP qualifying days for period not worked
- National Insurance numbers of all employees in receipt of SSP
SI 2020/512 para 4(1)(a)
The Coronavirus Act 2020 makes provision for HMRC to make the necessary changes via regulations.