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Corona Virus | statutory sick pay SSP

In preparation for salon and spa staff taking time off for the corona virus, we revisit the rules around statutory sick pay SSP.

It’s in law that you have to pay SSP; but you cannot reclaim it back

Since 6th April 2014, an employer can no longer claim back any SSP it has paid to its employees. The SSP paid is therefore an absolute cost to the salon owner.

SSP is £94.25 a week for up to 28 weeks

  • The employee must be sick and off work for 4 days or more
  • You do not have to pay SSP for the first 3 days – just from day 4 onwards
  • Must be paid to an employee for the days they would usually work
  • It is paid to the employee as part of your usual 4-weekly or monthly pay run
  • The employee will be liable to pay tax and national insurance on the amounts
  • You cannot force your employees to take annual leave when they’re eligible for sick leave
  • If the employee works for more than 1 minute, that day is not considered a sick day

Other rules to bear in mind:

You may not have to pay SSP if any of the following is true:

  • the employee has not yet done work for you under their employment contract (ie has not yet started)
  • the employee has earned an average of at less than £118 per week
  • the employee has not given you the correct notice (e.g. within the time limit set by you, or 7 days if you have not set one) see details here here

Self employed peeps (eg chair renters)

For self employed stylists and therapists, there’s no SSP; and also no other government benefits they can claim for time off sick.

They may have private health insurance but would have to check if Corona Virus is covered.

Advice from the FSB:

“Employees who develop symptoms will of course be unfit for work.

They will be entitled to SSP subject to meeting the qualifying criteria. Additionally, an employee is deemed to be incapable of work for SSP purposes if they:

• are a carrier of, or

• have been in contact with an infectious or contagious disease of a kind specified in Regulation 2(3) of the Statutory Sick Pay (General) Regulations 1982 and has been issued with a statement from a registered medical practitioner advising them not to go to work due to it being known or reasonably suspected that they have been in contact with or infected by one.”

Advice from ACAS:

“The ACAS guidance on coronavirus states, in brief, that there’s no statutory right to pay if someone is not sick but cannot work because they:

  • have been told by a medical expert to self-isolate
  • have had to go into quarantine
  • are abroad in an affected area and are not allowed to travel back to the UK

But it’s good practice for their employer to treat it as sick leave and follow their usual sick pay policy or agree for the time to be taken as holiday.

The guidance can be found here: https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

Clearly if employees have been told to self-isolate on medical advice because it is known or reasonably suspected they have been exposed to the virus, rather than just as a precautionary measure, they would be entitled to SSP (subject to meeting eligibility criteria).”

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