Coronavirus and Statutory Sick Pay

The Prime Minister announced his Living with Covid plan on 21 February 2022 and as part of that confirmed that the adjustments made to Statutory Sick Pay when testing positive for Coronavirus would end.

Day One Entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay

The day 1 entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay when testing positive for Covid-19 will end on 24 March 2022.

The change means that from Friday 25 March 2022 Covid will be treated like any other illness with individuals not qualifying for Statutory Sick Pay until day four of their absence.

Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme

The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (SSPRS) is also ending. Claims can only be made for coronavirus-related absences or self-isolation absences that occur up to 17 March 2022.

Impact On The Workplace

As attitudes towards Covid shift individuals are increasingly likely to view it in the same manner as flu or the common cold and are therefore likely to attend the workplace whilst either positive for Covid or showing symptoms.

Pre Covid it would be highly unusual for anyone to take a week off work with a cold and anyone who did would no doubt be treated with suspicion. It may well be the case, in the not-too-distant future, that only individuals with serious and/or debilitating Covid symptoms will take time off work, much the same as with flu.

The key questions for most employers will be:

  • how to manage employees who are asymptomatic or only have mild symptoms now the requirement to self-isolate has gone and people are encouraged to go into work; and
  • how to manage the risks in relation to clinically vulnerable employees or employees who live with a clinically vulnerable person.

One option to avoid staff with Covid coming into work and potentially mixing with vulnerable people – whether staff or customers, would be to establish an enhanced sick pay package. This would enable those employees who are capable and willing to work, and cannot work from home, to remain at home.

The government’s working safely guidance, which can be found here, continue to apply and businesses who follow them will help reduce the risk of a successful claim in respect of s100(1)(d) and (e) of the Employment Rights Act 1996.

Coronavirus and Statutory Sick Pay