Back in March of last year, changes to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) rules were introduced to help limit the spread of coronavirus.
Over the course following months, the legislation became a little clearer and deemed that those shielding from others in accordance with advice were incapable of work.
However, just over a year since the first pieces of coronavirus-related legislation came into force, it has been announced that from 1 April, individuals on the Shielded Patient List will no longer be eligible to receive either SSP or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) purely on the basis of being instructed to shield.
The changes will not affect those who are unable to work due to coronavirus providing they meet the eligibility criteria.
COVID-19 SSP timeline
28 February 2020
Businesses with an employee headcount of fewer than 250 employees become eligible to reclaim 100% of SSP per employee for COVID-19 related absences, up to a maximum of two weeks.
4 March 2020
The Government announces that SSP can begin from the first day for all COVID-19 related absences.
13 March 2020
SSP for COVID-19 related absences becomes newly defined. Employees are encouraged to follow guidelines and self-isolate. The new rules are set to be implemented from 13 March until 12 November 2020.
16 April 2020
SSP legislation and guidance are updated to provide further clarity to the COVID-19 SSP Rebate Scheme.
Eligibility is extended to those shielding in line with guidance but is not backdated to 13 March.
24 April 2020
Employer Bulletin confirms that COVID-19 SSP reclaims will be classed as a form of State Aid.
26 May 2020
The Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme is launched. Companies can begin making their claims online.
28 May 2020
Employees self-isolating because they've been notified by the NHS or public health authorities due to close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 become eligible for SSP.
8 June 2020
People entering the UK must self-isolate at a named location for 14 days. SSP is not payable during this period.
6 July 2020
Employees self-isolating because someone in their support bubble had symptoms or tested positive for COVID-19 become eligible for SSP.
26 August 2020
Employees self-isolating because they've been advised to by either a doctor or healthcare professional before going into hospital for surgery become eligible for SSP.
1 April 2021
Individuals on the Shielded Patient List are no longer eligible to receive either SSP or Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) purely on the basis of being instructed to shield.
Employees still shielding at this time must work from home when they can, or return to the workplace where this is not possible. Employers have a duty to ensure the health and safety of all employees and are required to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines.