As a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the circumstances under which Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is payable have been extended. To qualify, employees must be absent from work due to ‘incapacity’, but what does incapacity mean in the context of COVID-19?
When is SSP payable?
You are deemed incapable of work if you are unwell yourself but also where you are self-isolating or shielding. Specifically, SSP is now payable (subject to your level of earnings – see below), if:
- You are diagnosed with or have symptoms of COVID-19, however mild;
- You live with someone who is diagnosed with or has symptoms of COVID-19;
- You are defined in public health guidance as extremely vulnerable and at very high risk of severe illness from COVID-19 because of an underlying health condition and you have been advised by a notification that, in accordance with that guidance, you need to follow rigorous shielding measures for the period specified in the notification.
SSP can be claimed from the first day of incapacity in respect of absences from 13 March 2020.
What level of earnings is required to be eligible for SSP?
You need to be earning a minimum of £120 per week (from 6 April 2020) to be eligible for SSP which is £95.85 per week, payable up to a maximum of 28 weeks. Your employer can pay more if it wants and it may be that you are entitled to contractual sick pay which is higher than SSP. Your employer must pay whichever is higher.
Do I need a GP or doctor’s note?
We are all advised not to visit our GP in person. Instead you can get an online isolation note via the NHS website (which replaces the ‘fit note’ or ‘sick note’) to provide to your employer as evidence that you have to self-isolate. However your employer may not ask you to provide evidence. Ask your employer if they require an isolation note.
If you are self-isolating because you live with someone who has symptoms you could agree with your employer to work at home on full pay, rather than receiving SSP. However your employer is not obliged to agree to this.
Can we help you?
If you need any specific advice please don’t hesitate to contact us through our website www.lincslaw.co.uk or by telephone on 01522 440512.
Kathryn Bolton, Specialist Employment Solicitor
Lincs Law Specialist Employment Solicitors