Comment provided by Kate Palmer – Associate Director of Advisory at Peninsula
Businesses across the UK are likely to breathe a sigh of relief at the news that they will finally be able to claim statutory sick pay (SSP) amounts back from the government through this rebate scheme, despite it being many weeks since it was initially announced. Sitting alongside the furlough scheme, this new scheme offers more assistance to employers who have seen staff take sick leave as a direct or indirect result of the coronavirus, to help them to keep their business open and functioning throughout the crisis.
It is interesting that, unlike the furlough scheme, this assistance is only open to companies of a certain size, suggesting that the government is aware meeting statutory sick pay (SSP) costs is likely to be more difficult for smaller businesses and are therefore putting procedures in place to help them. It remains to be seen if eligibility for reclaiming SSP will be broadened to include larger companies, and it is likely any decisions in this manner will come as we move through the crisis.
However, what is clear is that furloughed staff cannot benefit from the SSP Rebate Scheme if they stay on furlough; staff must either be furloughed, or placed on sick leave. They cannot be both at once.